Adobe to patch Reader zero-day this week with rush update

Hackers exploiting sandbox-bypass bug

Adobe on Saturday said it would release an emergency patch for two Reader zero-day vulnerabilities this week.

Hackers have already been exploiting the bugs using rigged PDF documents sent as email attachments.

"Adobe plans to make available updates for Adobe Reader and Acrobat ... during the week of February 18, 2013," the company said in its security incident response team's blog Saturday.

An associated security advisory, first issued last Wednesday, has also been updated to reflect the impending updates to Reader for Windows, OS X and Linux.

News of the Adobe Reader vulnerabilities surfaced Feb. 13 when researchers from security vendor FireEye reported that attackers were exploiting the bugs, which exist in the latest versions of the popular PDF-viewing software.

Adobe confirmed the vulnerabilities later that same day, acknowledging that attacks were sidestepping the anti-exploit "sandbox" defense baked into Reader 10 and Reader 11.

Some security experts concluded that the attacks are on the same level as the cyber-espionage Duqu threat of 2011, and claimed that that hints at a sophisticated operation beyond the skills of most hacker gangs.

Adobe will patch two vulnerabilities in its update this week; the pair have been used in combination by hackers to circumvent the sandbox and execute other malicious code.

In lieu of a patch, Adobe urged users to upgrade to Reader 11, then turn on "Protected View," an enhancement to the sandbox that adds additional defensive features. Adobe debuted its original "Protected Mode" sandbox with Reader 10 in November 2010. It added Protected View to Reader 11 last October.

Both Protected Mode and Protected View are available only in the Windows editions.

Adobe Reader
Windows users running Adobe Reader 11 can block current attacks by turning on the "Protected View" sandbox.
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