Adobe Reader, Now Featuring Safety Patch
Article by George Norman
On 05 Nov 2008
Core Security, company that specializes in penetration testing and provides security software solutions, has recently uncovered a buffer overflow-type security vulnerability in Adobe Reader as well as Adobe Acrobat. The vulnerability is locally and remotely exploitable, but it does not affect the latest Adobe Acrobat/Reader release version, version 9.0, nor does it affect the older 8.1.3 versions. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability only of you are using Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat v. 8.1.2.

That previous statement is not exactly accurate. What it should have said is that you are vulnerable to malicious attack if you keep using Adobe Reader 8.1.2 and Adobe Acrobat 8.1.2 without the recently released patch. For safety reasons it is important to update your Adobe software as soon as possible. Keep in mind that this is the only flaw ever to be discovered in this software product. The update will trigger itself automatically the next time you open Adobe Reader 8.1.2; if this does not occur, you can initiate a manual update by clicking on the Help tab and then Check for Updates.


“Adobe Reader suffers from a stack buffer overflow when parsing specially crafted (invalid) PDF files. The vulnerability is caused due to a boundary error when parsing format strings containing a floating point specifier in the "util.printf()" JavaScript function. Successful exploitation of the vulnerability requires that users open a maliciously crafted PDF file thereby allowing attackers to gain access to vulnerable systems and assume the privileges of a user running Acrobat Reader. Adobe Reader version 9, which was released in June 2008, is not vulnerable to the reported problem,” says the Core Security advisory.

A security fix or patch has been made available as of Tuesday, the 4th of November. You are very well advised to patch the software or upgrade to v 8.1.3 or 9.0.

Tags: Adobe, Adobe Reader, Adobe Acrobat, Core Security
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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