Feeds

Adobe promises emergency patch for Flash, Reader bugs

Limited attacks under way

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Adobe Systems plans to release emergency patches for its Flash and Reader applications after learning a critical vulnerability is being exploited to install malware on vulnerable machines.

The out-of-cycle patches for Adobe Flash Player 10 and Acrobat and Reader versions 9, 10, and X will arrive during the week March 21, the company said on Monday. The updates will cover all versions of those programs except for Reader X for Windows, which ships with a security sandbox that blocks the exploits Adobe has observed so far.

The announcement comes after members of Adobe's security team received reports of targeted attacks aimed “at a very small number of organizations and limited in scope” that “install persistent malware on the victim's machine,” the company said in an advisory. The exploits wield a booby-trapped Flash file hidden inside a Microsoft Excel file attached to an email.

The attacks exploit an unspecified flaw in Flash Player for the Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris and Android operating systems. Adobe security members are unaware of other types of attacks, such as those that plant the malicious Flash file in documents using the the PDF, or portable document format, specification.

“However, attackers have leveraged these type [sic] of Flash Player vulnerabilities in the past via .pdf files to attack the embedded authplay.dll component shipping with Adobe Reader and Acrobat v9,” Brad Arkin, Adobe's senior director of product security and privacy, wrote. “Out of a preponderance of caution we took the decision to ship out-of-cycle updates for Adobe Reader and Acrobat v9, and Acrobat X to mitigate the risk of attackers shifting the attack from an .xls container to a .pdf container.”

The unscheduled patch won't cover Reader X for Windows, because that recently released version of the program contains a Sandbox that isolates remotely supplied payloads from the OS's core functions. As a result, the exploits Adobe has seen to date aren't able to successfully execute on machines that run it. Many Reader users, particularly those in corporate settings, still run versions 10 or 9 of Reader, meaning they will remain vulnerable until the emergency patch is installed.

Excluding Reader X for Windows from the out-of-cycle release will allow Adobe engineers to publish it more quickly than it otherwise could. The fix for that version will be released on June 14, during Adobe's next scheduled quarterly update.

Adobe has more here. The critical vulnerability has been assigned CVE-2011-0609. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Apple grapple: Congress kills FBI's Cupertino crypto kybosh plan
Encryption would lead us all into a 'dark place', claim G-Men
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.