Feeds

Adobe readies critical Reader update

Root cause of PDF complexity hairball remains

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Adobe has promised to release a patch for a critical hole in its Adobe Reader and Acrobat PDF software next Tuesday (5 October).

The updates will address a zero-day cross-platform vulnerability first discovered three weeks ago that creates a possible mechanism for hackers to take over vulnerable PCs. The software developer plans to release Adobe Reader 9.3.4 for Windows, Macintosh and Unix, Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 for Windows and Macintosh, and Adobe Reader 8.2.4 and Acrobat 8.2.4 for Windows and Macintosh next Tuesday a week ahead of its scheduled quarterly update, as explained in an advisory here.

Adobe plugged a related flaw in its Flash Player software with an out-of-sequence patch last week.

Adobe's applications rank second behind software from Microsoft as the favourite target for hackers and malware authors. For all its efforts to improve the patching and security process Adobe is still struggling to keep up its head above water. A big part of the reason for this is the complexity of the PDF format, which allows embedded JavaScript and all sorts of features of questionable utility to genuine users that serve as fodder for hacking attacks.

Anti-virus analyst Paul Baccas of Sophos Labs proposed replaceing PDF with a Safe Document Format during a presentation at the Virus Bulletin conference in Vancover on Thursday. Adobe plans to add sandboxing features to its Reader software, but Baccas said such a move does not go nearly far enough.

Three quarters of the security experts present at the talk agreed with the Sophos analyst in a show of hands, with only an estimated three per cent saying no change was needed. At the least JavaScript support ought to be dropped from PDF, Baccas argued, as explained in a blog post on his talk here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.