Hacker bears bad news about PDF

QuickTime hacker exposes Adobe-Windows vulnerability

A hacker who discovered a recently patched QuickTime flaw affecting the Firefox browser says he has found an equally serious flaw in Adobe Systems' PDF file format.

"Adobe Acrobat/Reader PDF documents can be used to compromise your Windows box. Completely!!! Invisibly and unwillingly!!!," wrote Petko Petkov, in a breathless Thursday blog posting. "All it takes is to open a PDF document or stumble across a page which embeds one."

Petkov said he had confirmed the issue on Adobe Reader 8.1 on Windows XP and that other versions may be affected.

Petkov said he would not release code that showed how this attack worked until Adobe provided a patch for the problem, but he has already sent other software developers scrambling for bug fixes over the past week.

On September 12, Petkov reported that attackers could run unauthorised software on a Firefox user's PC by exploiting a flaw in Apple's QuickTime media format. Mozilla has offered a partial fix for this problem but said Apple would have to address the issue in its QuickTime media player.

And on Tuesday Petkov posted code showing how Windows Media Player files could be used to make Web surfers susceptible to Internet Explorer bugs, even if they were running another browser such as Firefox or Opera. Microsoft has said it is investigating this issue.

If Petkov's PDF claims are true, it could be bad news for business users, who are used to opening PDF attachments without thinking twice, said Andrew Storms, director of security operations with nCircle Network Security.

Though some attackers have crafted PDF attacks in recent years, Petkov's code could also be more effective than typical exploits, Storms added. "Historically, those other exploits have been targeted for specific versions of Adobe Reader," he said. "According to the information, this affects all versions. It's an inherent architectural problem in the way files are read."

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?