Deja vu all over again: Adobe reveals new Flash Zero day

Flash is now being exploited by a virtually identical zero-day exploit.

Do not adjust your Web browser. This may look like an identical post to the one from four weeks ago announcing a zero-day vulnerability in Adobe Flash, but it's actually a new one.

Adobe released an updated version of Flash -- as well as Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat which were also impacted -- to address the flaw in only a week. Perhaps the rush to develop a patch quickly is coming back to bite Adobe, though, because it is that new version -- not yet a month old -- which is now being targeted with a new zero day, and virtually all aspects of the new threat appear identical to last month's zero-day.

If you put the Adobe PSIRT (Product Security Incident Response Team) blog post announcing this new Flash zero-day side by side with the one from March 14 announcing the previous Flash zero-day, the only differences between the two appear to be the version numbers of the affected products, and the fact that the current exploit in the wild for the new threat is using a malicious Flash (SWF) file embedded within a Microsoft Word doc (DOC) rather than a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (XLS).

As with the previous Flash zero-day, Adobe is not aware of any malicious PDF exploits in the wild targeting the flawed authplay.dll element used in Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat. Also as with the previous Flash zero-day, Adobe is diligently working on patching the affected products to address the flaw, but does not intend to update Adobe Reader X for Windows until the regularly scheduled quarterly update in June because the Protected Mode sandbox security should prevent any attack from executing.

Andrew Storms, Director of Security Operations at nCircle, points out that Adobe zero-days seem to be a dime a dozen these days. Storms stresses, "In light of recent suggestions that an Adobe Flash vulnerability was part of the RSA breach, all users should be paying close attention to all Adobe bugs."

Adobe did not make any predictions for when to expect patches for the affected products. Storms believes, though, that in light of the back to back zero-day exploits, and the fact that an Adobe Flash zero-day exploit led to the RSA breach, Adobe may need to reconsider delaying the patch for Adobe Reader X for Windows until June.

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Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
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