Flaw threatens Acrobat documents

Adobe has warned of a serious flaw affecting one of the most widely distributed client applications, Acrobat Reader. The flaw leaves users open to attack via maliciously crafted PDF files, which can be spread via e-mail attachments web page links, and can be used to take control of a system.

"Remote exploitation of a buffer overflow in Adobe Acrobat Reader for Unix could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code," said security firm iDefense, which discovered the flaw, in an advisory.

A number of bugs in Acrobat Reader have emerged in recent weeks, but none were particularly serious. The last serious flaw to affect Acrobat Reader was in December 2004, when Acrobat Reader 5.x and 6.x were hit by several vulnerabilities allowing remote attackers to execute malicious code.

The flaw affects Acrobat Reader 5.x for Unix and Linux, which has a large installed base despite the availability of newer versions. PDF is widely used as a platform-independent file format, and unlike Microsoft Office document formats, has full support on Unix and Linux.

The bug is in the function UnixAppOpenFilePerform, which is called by Acrobat Reader while opening certain documents, iDefense said. User-supplied data is copied into a fixed-sized stack buffer, which leads to a stack-based buffer overflow and the execution of arbitrary code, iDefense said. A remote attacker can easily choose data to exploit the hole without needing to know stack addresses, said the firm.

The bug is made somewhat less dangerous by the fact that two error messages appear before the exploit takes effect, but closing the message windows doesn't stop the attack from taking place, iDefense said.

IDefense and Adobe recommended caution when opening attachments or following links, and said users should upgrade to an unaffected version, such as Acrobat Reader 7.0.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?