Adobe plugs critical security holes


Adobe has fixed some critical flaws in its Reader and Acrobat products, as promised earlier in the month.

A zero-day vulnerability affecting the software could be exploited when maliciously-designed TrueType font was embedded into a PDF, allowing memory to be corrupted, according to security advisory provider Secunia.

"These vulnerabilities could cause the application to crash and could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system," Adobe posted in its security advisory.

The updates constitute an out-of-cycle release, and the next round of quarterly security updates for Reader and Acrobat is due on 12 October.

The flaw in the software was initially thought to have been discovered by Charlie Miller, a researcher at Independent Security Evaluators, who presented his findings at the Black Hat USA 2010 conference in July.

However, Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy has been given credit for notifying Adobe of the problems prior to Miller's presentation at the notable security event.

"This is an example that illustrates an effect that security researchers have long tried to call attention to: it is possible and seems to happen every once in a while that vulnerabilities are discovered independently, both by security researchers and/or malware writers," said Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer at Qualys.

An update for Adobe Flash Player has also been issued for vulnerabilities identified in version and earlier.

"Adobe recommends all users of Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions upgrade to the newest version by downloading it from the Adobe Flash Player Download Center or by installing it via the auto-update mechanism within the product when prompted," Adobe said.

"For users who cannot update to Flash Player, Adobe has developed a patched version of Flash Player 9, Flash Player 9.0.280."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.