Third Time Unlucky: Adobe Forced To Release Hatrick Of Unscheduled Security Patches

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Adobe’s latest flaw has allowed hackers to take control of thousands of users’ computers

Adobe has scrambled to release its third unscheduled patch this month in an effort to fix a flaw impacting all versions of multimedia viewing software Flash Player.

Criminals targeting the vulnerability had been redirecting thousands of people to video sharing website Dailymotion, according to security researchers.

Zero-day vulnerabilities

It marks Adobe’s fourth security update in total within the past month. The first was released on January 13 as a part of Adobe’s regularly scheduled Patch Tuesday updates. The second and third updates were out-of-band patches to address zero-day vulnerabilities in Flash Player and were released on January 22 and 27, respectively. Adobe has not yet released a patch for the latest zero-day vulnerability reported yesterday, but plans to do so this week.

The latest patch will address a flaw known as known as CVE-2015-0313. Hackers have been impersonating legitimate advertisers to target the flaw with malicious adverts – a technique known as malvertising.

Malware, virus, security © Finchen, Shutterstock 2014Internet users are tricked into clicking on an infected advert, which directs browsers to a URL where the exploit is hosted. The malware is then donwloaded automatically, creating a backdoor on the victim’s computer for hackers to install other malware or steal credentials such as credit card details.

Peter Pi, threat analyst at Trend Micro, wrote in a blog post: “We’ve seen around 3,294 hits related to the exploit and, with an attack already seen in the wild, it’s likely there are other attacks leveraging this zero-day, posing a great risk of compromise to unprotected systems.

“It is important to note that infection happens automatically, since advertisements are designed to load once a user visits a site. It is likely that this was not limited to the Dailymotion website alone, since the infection was triggered from the advertising platform and not the website content itself,”

In a statement, Adobe said: “We are aware of reports that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild via drive-by-download attacks against systems running Internet Explorer and Firefox on Windows 8.1 and below.”

Flash Player users are urged to update the software or related plugin.

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