Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

4/28/2009
05:28 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Adobe Reader, Acrobat Hit With Another Zero-Day

Popular PDF plug-in becoming favorite target for attackers, prompting some security experts to recommend open-source alternatives

A new zero-day vulnerability in Adobe Reader has been disclosed, once again putting the popular PDF reader in possible peril from attackers.

The newly discovered vulnerability affects "all currently supported shipping versions" of the software, meaning Versions 9.1, 8.1.4, 7.1.1, and earlier of Adobe Reader and Acrobat, and on all operating system platforms for the applications, said Adobe's Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) in its blog this afternoon.

The company is also "currently investigating" the exploit that also was posted with the vulnerability disclosure, blogged Adobe's David Leone.

"Adobe plans to provide updates for all affected versions for all platforms (Windows, Macintosh, and Unix) to resolve this issue. We are working on a development schedule for these updates and will post a time line as soon as possible. We are currently not aware of any reports of exploits in the wild for this issue," blogged Leone.

This is the second major zero-day flaw to be exposed in Adobe Reader this year. In February, Adobe reported a buffer overflow bug in Reader and Acrobat. A researcher later demonstrated that a user merely storing -- and not even opening -- a PDF infected via the flaw could trigger an attack.

With Adobe Reader's security woes increasing during the past few months, some security experts are declaring it time for users to change their PDF reader programs to avoid attacks. F-Secure has led the charge, noting that 47 percent of the targeted attacks it has seen so far this year used Adobe Acrobat Reader PDFs -- a twenty-fold increase compared to last year. "Adobe is targeted primarily because they are the big guy," says Patrik Runald, chief security advisor for F-Secure.

F-Secure now advises users to switch over to an alternative PDF reader from the pdfreaders site for open-source PDF readers. The more diverse the PDF reader pool, the better for user security, Runald says.

Meanwhile, details about the new Reader zero-day are sketchy, other that it being JavaScript-based. "Right now, we don't know too much," Runald says. "There are two different vulnerabilities, one affecting the getAnnots() JavaScript function and the other targeting the spell.customDictionaryOpen() JavaScript function."

Like many third-party plug-in applications, users -- especially consumers -- don't regularly update their Adobe Reader apps. Microsoft recently reported in its Security Incident Report that 90 percent of vulnerabilities in Windows machines are in third-party apps running on them. That has prompted efforts like that of Secunia to rally other software vendors to develop an industry-standard tool that automatically updates all applications on a consumer's PC.

F-Secure says consumers have no reason to be limited to using Acrobat Reader if all they want to do is view PDF files. "Instead of using a tool that is 42 megabytes in size, there are alternatives that are just a few megabytes in size," Runald says.

The main way to protect yourself from Acrobat Reader-borne attacks is to disable JavaScript. That entails unchecking the box "Enable Acrobat JavaScript" under the Preferences tab and clicking "OK," according to Adobe.

The company said in its blog that it has contacted antivirus and security vendors about the vulnerability.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 10/23/2020
7 Tips for Choosing Security Metrics That Matter
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  10/19/2020
Russian Military Officers Unmasked, Indicted for High-Profile Cyberattack Campaigns
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  10/19/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-24847
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability is identified in FruityWifi through 2.4. Due to a lack of CSRF protection in page_config_adv.php, an unauthenticated attacker can lure the victim to visit his website by social engineering or another attack vector. Due to this issue, an unauthenticat...
CVE-2020-24848
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
FruityWifi through 2.4 has an unsafe Sudo configuration [(ALL : ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL]. This allows an attacker to perform a system-level (root) local privilege escalation, allowing an attacker to gain complete persistent access to the local system.
CVE-2020-5990
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
NVIDIA GeForce Experience, all versions prior to 3.20.5.70, contains a vulnerability in the ShadowPlay component which may lead to local privilege escalation, code execution, denial of service or information disclosure.
CVE-2020-25483
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
An arbitrary command execution vulnerability exists in the fopen() function of file writes of UCMS v1.4.8, where an attacker can gain access to the server.
CVE-2020-5977
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
NVIDIA GeForce Experience, all versions prior to 3.20.5.70, contains a vulnerability in NVIDIA Web Helper NodeJS Web Server in which an uncontrolled search path is used to load a node module, which may lead to code execution, denial of service, escalation of privileges, and information disclosure.