New year, new attacks against Adobe zero-day

The Internet Storm Center reports finding sophisticated attacks using .pdf files that go after an unpatched security hole

Crooks are once again exploiting the zero-day hole in Adobe Reader and Acrobat to install a remote-control Trojan on victim machines.

The attacks start with a malicious .pdf that the Internet Storm Center has analyzed in depth. The ISC is a volunteer organization that tracks Internet attacks.

As the ISC notes, "malicious PDF documents are not rare these days," and attacks typically attach them to e-mails. But targeted attacks only sent to a small number of victims are often missed by security programs, and the attack sample sent in to the ISC was initially detected by only six out of 40 antivirus vendors, according to the analysis.

This particular attack attempts to install the PoisonIvy Trojan, which allows an attacker to gain remote control over an infected PC. It also drops off a harmless .pdf file named baby.pdf and then opens it with Reader, a bit of digital sleight-of-hand intended to disguise the attack.

The Adobe flaw has been under attack since it was disclosed last month. In its security bulletin, Adobe notes that for some combinations of Windows and Reader versions, this security hole will only allow for crashing Reader instead of installing malware.

In the bulletin, Adobe says it will release an update on January 12th, but until then the ISC suggests disabling Javascript in Reader and Acrobat (instructions in the bulletin). Using an alternate .pdf reader such as Foxit should also help mitigate the threat.

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.

Tags adobeadobe acrobat

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Erik Larkin

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?