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Adobe Shockwave bitten by code execution bug

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Security researchers have disclosed an unpatched vulnerability in the latest version of Adobe Shockwave that allows attackers to remotely execute malicious code on end user machines.

The memory corruption vulnerability can be exploited by booby-trapped movie files, making it possible for attackers to take full control of machines by luring owners to malicious websites. The security bug was disclosed on Thursday by researchers at Abysssec Security.

It's the latest security flaw to hit Adobe, which over the past few years has struggled to patch a plague of bugs, many of which have been actively exploited to install malware that steals banking passwords and other confidential user information. By some estimates, Adobe Reader is the mostly widely exploited desktop app, although recent research suggests Oracle's Java framework may have surpassed Adobe kit for that dubious distinction.

In a disclosure, Adobe confirmed the “critical” vulnerability in Shockwave Player 11.5.8.612 and earlier versions for Windows and Macintosh. Company researchers are not aware of any real-world attacks that exploit the bug. Adobe is figuring out when it will release an update to plug the hole. In the meantime, it's working with security partners to make sure antivirus and intrusion prevention systems detect attacks.

The exploit has been tested on systems running Service Pack 3 of Windows XP, Abysssec said in its disclosure. Exploits are also possible on more recent versions of Windows, despite security mitigations put in place to prevent such attacks.

Shockwave Player is available for Windows and Mac computers and is used primarily for Web games and entertainment, interactive product demonstrations, and online learning applications. The software is available as a stand-alone download from Adobe. Many installations of the Firefox browser come with a plugin called Shockwave Flash. Adobe's advisory didn't say whether users with this extension are vulnerable. ®

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