Adobe mimics Microsoft, issues mega patch update

Fixes Reader zero-day flaw to stymie ongoing PDF attacks, trots out 29 patches

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The backdoor Trojan, dubbed "Protux" by Trend Micro, is no malware newcomer; it's been the payload for attacks that exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Office suite.

Also in the Adobe patch mix today were fixes for the Reader plug-ins used by Mozilla's Firefox, Google's Chrome and Opera Software's Opera browsers. While the Firefox plug-in bug was considered critical, the one in the plug-in used by Chrome and Opera was less serious, although it could be used by identity thieves to hoodwink users into believing they were at a legitimate Web site when they actually had been shunted to a phony.

Adobe has struggled this year to keep up with a rising tide of Reader and Acrobat vulnerabilities. In March, the company quashed a PDF bug that attackers had been using for more than two months, patched Reader and Acrobat again in May to block another zero-day and fixed a Flash-related PDF flaw in July.

Today's update was the fourth this year that plugged a hole already being used by hackers.

Although Microsoft patched more vulnerabilities today (34) than did Adobe, at least one researcher pegged the latter as the company that needs to step up its security game. "The lower-hanging fruit isn't Microsoft, it's Adobe," said Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer at security vendor Qualys. "They seem to be getting a decent amount of attacks against their software."

Adobe has made moves to improve its security bottom line, the biggest being a promise in June to follow Microsoft's lead and release regular security updates for Reader and Acrobat. Originally, Adobe intended to post its second quarterly update last month, but a scramble during July to fix several flaws, including some introduced by Microsoft in a code "library" used by Adobe developers, ruined that plan. It announced more than a month ago that it would instead push the patch date into October.

Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat 9.2, 8.1.7 and 7.1.4 for Windows, Mac and Linux can be downloaded from Adobe's Web site using the links included in today's advisory. Alternately, users can use the programs' built-in update mechanism to grab the new versions.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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