Feeds

Adobe warns of attacks exploiting critical Flash flaw

Patch coming, but you'll have to wait

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Adobe has promised to update its Flash media player to patch a critical vulnerability that is being exploited in targeted attacks to install malware on end user machines.

The attacks are being launched using emails that attach a Microsoft Word document that contains a booby-trapped Flash file, according to a blog post published on Monday by independent security researcher Mila Parkour. Clicking on the document causes Windows-based machines to install a backdoor known as Zolpiq, separate researchers from antivirus provider Kaspersky said.

“Given the interest on the list in China's Anti-Monopoly Law, the current issue of the ABA Antitrust Section's Antitrust Source may be of interest,” the email, which contains no spelling mistakes or glaring grammatical errors states. Copies of the message were sent as recently as Friday to unknown people, Parkour's post indicates.

Copy of email exploiting critical Adobe Flash vulnerability

Copy of email exploiting critical Adobe Flash vulnerability

Just 1 of the 42 top antivirus products detected the threat, according to a VirusTotal analysis conducted over the weekend, and even that was a false positive for an unrelated piece of malware. Adobe officials said they're unaware of any exploits that directly target the vulnerability in its Flash or Reader applications.

Adobe didn't say when the fixes would arrive for Flash, but said it won't be able to fix the vulnerability in Reader for Windows until June 14. Reader for Linux and Solaris, and for phones running Google's Android operating system aren't vulnerable.

Word of the in-the-wild attacks comes one month after Adobe warned of similar attacks that targeted a separate Flash vulnerability. In both cases, the attackers embedded the malicious SWF file in a Microsoft Office document, presumably because a security sandbox recently added to Windows versions of the document viewer prevents the attackers from executing code on would-be victim's computers.

Those who have a legitimate need to embed Flash content in Word and Excel documents are almost certainly in the minority. With SWF exploits piggybacking on Office files for the second time in as many months, it's time for Microsoft to quickly figure out how to let users disable SWF content from all Office documents.

It's not clear if the attacks work against newer versions of Office, which come with security protections such as Address Space Layout Randomization designed to prevent the execution of malicious code. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
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.