Flaw in open-source PDF viewer could put WikiLeaks users, others at risk

The flaw could be exploited to launch XSS and content spoofing attacks

An open-source component used to display PDF files on WikiLeaks.org and other websites contains vulnerabilities that could be exploited to launch cross-site scripting (XSS) and content spoofing attacks against visitors.

The vulnerable component is called FlexPaper and is developed by a company called Devaldi, based in New Zealand. The company confirmed the issues, which were first reported Thursday on the WikiLeaks supporters forum, and released FlexPaper 2.3.0 to address them.

However, it seems that the component hasn't yet been updated on WikiLeaks.org, which was still using FlexPaper 2.1.2 on some pages Tuesday.

The incident comes after Wired reported last week that in 2012 the FBI used a Flash-based component to decloak Tor users and find their real IP (Internet Protocol) addresses in an operation that targeted users of child pornography websites hosted on the Tor network.

Since WikiLeaks' audience includes a lot of users that value their privacy and anonymity, any vulnerability in the site that could potentially be used to expose their real location is likely to be viewed as a serious threat.

"Given the fact that most browsers use plugins to enable the reading of PDFs, we strongly urge WikiLeaks to link directly to PDF files instead of using third party software that could put users at risk," said a user named Koyaanisqatsi, who reported the flaws on the WikiLeaks forum.

That's what WikiLeaks did with two secret documents about travelling through airports using false ID that were allegedly leaked from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The site published the documents Sunday and directly linked to the PDF files instead of displaying them in an embedded viewer.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityprivacywikileakspatchesExploits / vulnerabilitiesDevaldi

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?