Critical jailbreak hole plugged in Foxit Reader
Adobe Reader unaffected
The Foxit document reader has been updated to fix the same critical bug that currently leaves iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches wide open to malware attacks.
Foxit Reader version 4.1.1.0805 “fixes the crash issue caused by the new iPhone/iPad jailbreak program which can be exploited to inject arbitrary code into a system and execute it there,” Foxit officials said. They recommend that users install the update to protect themselves.
There are actually two underlying vulnerabilities involved in the Jailbreakme hack, and at time of writing they still made it possible to jailbreak iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches simply by visiting a site with one of the fully patched devices. While the hack isn't malicious, security watchers have warned that it's possible to exploit the same vulnerabilities to do much more nefarious things, such as install password-sniffing malware. Apple confirmed last week that a PDF reader built into iOS is vulnerable, and Foxit's advisory now makes clear their PDF reader is also susceptible.
Foxit suffered from only one of the vulnerabilities exploited by Jailbreakme.com. Interestingly, Adobe's senior director of product security and privacy Brad Arkin has said that Adobe Reader does not suffer from this vulnerability.
Adobe critics frequently hold up Foxit as an example of a PDF reader that's a safer alternative to Adobe Reader. We're not so sure. Without a doubt, it's less targeted by malicious hackers. But we're not aware of any data showing that's because there are fewer holes to exploit in the alternate reader. As the Jailbreakme bug shows, sometimes Adobe Reader is free of risks that confront its competitors. ®
This article was updated to make it clear there was only one vulnerability in Foxit.