Security Pros Advise on Surviving the Adobe Flaw


With hackers circling round a flaw in Adobe Acrobat, security professionals have advice on how to survive till Adobe gets round to fixing the underlying problem

With attacks ongoing, for the flaw reported last week, Adobe Systems has issued an updated advisory, but it still seems to be up to other security companies to give practical advice for dodging exploits circulating the Web.

According to Secunia, the vulnerability affects versions 9 and earlier and is due specifically to an array indexing error in the processing of JBIG2 streams. The situation can be exploited to corrupt arbitrary memory via a specially crafted PDF file.

– Set your browser to not automatically open PDFs: The current versions of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox automatically open PDFs by default.

“If you were to go to a compromised Web site that is trying to infect you with malicious PDFs, you’re going to be infected, unless your AV catches it,” noted Roel Schouwenberg, senior anti-virus researcher at Kaspersky Lab Americas.

– Be wary of PDF files from unknown or untrusted sources: This should go largely without saying, but users should avoid opening up PDF files if they are suspicious.

– Consider enabling DEP (Data Execution Prevention) for Adobe Reader.

– Maintain up-to-date anti-virus protections: Many of the larger security vendors such as Symantec and McAfee offer some sort of generic protection against the flaw.

In addition to these, Sourcefire has created a homemade patch to serve as a band-aid until Adobe releases a fix for the issue. The Sourcefire patch can be downloaded here.

Officials at Adobe plan to make an update for Adobe Reader 9 and Acrobat 9 available by 11 March. In addition, Adobe is planning to make updates available for Adobe Reader 7 and 8 and Acrobat 7 and 8 by 18 March.