Adobe Accelerates Fix For Flash Flaw

Repair for the critical vulnerability, which is being actively exploited, will be released Monday rather than later this month.
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On Friday, Adobe announced that it would release a fix for a Flash bug Monday, rather than later this month, as originally planned.

The company gave no explanation for the change in its timetable, though speed is of the essence, since the firm acknowledged that "there are reports that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild against Adobe Flash Player on Windows." Adobe's security advisory rates the vulnerability as critical -- its most severe rating.

The forthcoming fix should cover Adobe Flash Player for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Solaris, and Android operating systems.

Interestingly, however, users of Google Chrome already have access to the Flash fix, since Google now bundles Flash into Chrome, explicitly to help users avoid older Flash versions with known vulnerabilities. Sure enough, on Friday, Google released Chrome version 6.0.472.62 for Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Going forward, Adobe will release patched versions of Adobe Reader 9.3.4 (for Windows, Macintosh, and Unix) and Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 (for Windows and Macintosh) during the week of October 4, 2010. No known attacks have emerged against either Acrobat or Reader.

According to vulnerability information provider Secunia, the underlying vulnerability stems from "an unspecified error when parsing Flash content."

According to United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), "by convincing a user to view a specially crafted HTML document (e.g., a web page or an HTML email message or attachment), PDF file, Microsoft Office document, or any other document that supports embedded SWF [ShockWave Flash] content, an attacker may be able to execute arbitrary code" and take over a user's system.

Pending patches, US-CERT recommends a number of workarounds for mitigating the attack. These include disabling Flash in web browsers, Flash and 3D & Multimedia plug-in libraries in Adobe Reader, and JavaScript in Adobe Reader and Acrobat; removing all versions of Flash from a computer; preventing Internet Explorer from automatically opening PDF documents; and prohibiting the display of PDFs in web browsers altogether.

In addition, the group said that "enabling Data Execution Prevention (DEP) in supported versions of Windows" will block some attacks that target the vulnerability.