Adobe patches 'PWN To OWN' bug in Flash Player

Hole used by hacker to take down Vista machine and win US$5,000 in the "PWN To OWN" exploit challenge has been patched

Adobe Systems this week plugged the Flash Player hole used by a hacker two weeks ago to take down a Windows Vista machine and claim a US$5,000 prize in the "PWN To OWN" exploit challenge.

Adobe's update to Flash Player -- the popular program and browser plug-in used to view online content -- patched seven vulnerabilities, including several that could be used by attackers to hijack machines running the flawed software. Among the seven was the one used to break into a Fujitsu notebook during the hacker contest sponsored by 3Com's TippingPoint, which operates a bug bounty program called Zero Day Initiative.

Last week, Adobe claimed it had known about the Flash bug before it was used by Shane Macaulay of Security Objectives to hack one of the laptops up for grabs at CanSecWest, and would add a fix for it to a previously scheduled update this month.

Adobe had announced the April update about four weeks ago, but had left the timeline vague, saying only that it would refresh Flash sometime during the month.

The majority of the patches applied to Flash Player quashed bugs in how the software handled .swf files, the proprietary Shockwave Flash format. One of the .swf vulnerabilities had been reported to Adobe back in December 2007 by Google researcher Rich Cannings, who pointed out the format could be used to launch cross-site scripting attacks, which are commonly deployed by identity thieves and phishers.

Earlier, Adobe had issued updates to its Web developer tools that crank out .swf files, and told Web operators and site designers to make changes to their pages before it released yesterday's end-user update. If they didn't get rid of the older .swf files, they risked users being unable to access Flash content on their sites, Adobe warned.

It repeated the warning yesterday. "Due to the possibility that these security enhancements and changes may impact existing Flash content, customers are advised to review this March 2008 Adobe Developer Center article to determine if the changes will affect their content," said Adobe in the advisory yesterday that accompanied the Flash Player update.

Simultaneously, TippingPoint -- via its Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) bug-buying program -- released a few details about the vulnerability it acquired from Macaulay during the PWN To OWN contest. "Exploitation of this vulnerability can result in arbitrary code execution under the context of the currently logged in user," said ZDI's own advisory. Adobe said all versions of Flash Player, which comes in editions for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, were affected by the vulnerabilities and should be updated.

Users can update by manually downloading the new edition of Flash Player from the Adobe site, or using the auto-update feature embedded in the software.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?