Adobe Patches Reader Flash Zero Day

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 @ 05:03 PM gHale

Adobe patched a critical zero-day vulnerability in Adobe Reader.

Adobe officials said over a week ago attackers could exploit a zero-day vulnerability in Flash Player using malicious Microsoft Excel documents attached to email messages. At the time, Adobe said it would patch Flash, Reader and Acrobat.

Reader and Acrobat were also vulnerable because the same Flash flaw existed in the “authplay.dll” component of those two programs. Authplay is the interpreter included in Reader and Acrobat that renders Flash content inside PDF files.

Adobe patched Reader and Acrobat and said the same fix for Flash would not appear until a bit later.

Previously, Adobe said while it has seen attacks exploiting the vulnerability via malformed Flash files embedded in Excel spreadsheets, it had not spotted any that targeted users with malicious PDF documents.

It’s possible that cybercriminals could switch tactics, however, and exploit the bug by duping users into opening rogue PDF files.

“Keep in mind that even though we are currently only seeing exploits in the form of [Flash] files embedded inside [Excel] files and distributed via email, we are providing the fix across all configurations and platforms because there is always the possibility that an attacker could rework the exploit and use the vulnerability in another way,” said Adobe spokeswoman Wiebke Lips.

Chrome users may not need to deploy the Flash fix because Google updated its browser, which includes an integrated copy of Flash Player, with the patch, Adobe said.

Adobe did not patch Adobe X, the newest version of the PDF viewer that includes an anti-exploit “sandbox” designed to stymie most attacks. Adobe said Reader X’s sandbox blocks the current attacks, and will also prevent malware installation if hackers switch to delivering the exploit in malicious PDFs.

You can download the patched versions of Reader, Acrobat and Flash Player from Adobe’s Web site. Alternately, users can run the programs’ integrated update tool or wait for the software to prompt them that a new version is available.

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