Adobe Flash flaw used in targeted attacks

Adobe Flash

Another Adobe Flash zero-day flaw has reared its ugly head and targeted attacks exploiting the vulnerability have been seen in the wild.

The security hole was found embedded in a Microsoft Office file and allows an attacker to execute malicious code on a computer.

The critical flaw was found in Flash Player and earlier versions running on Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris.

Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions for Android are also affected, as well as the Authplay.dll component which ships with Adobe Reader and Acrobat X.

"There are reports that this vulnerability is being exploited in the wild in targeted attacks via a Flash (.swf) file embedded in a Microsoft Word (.doc) file delivered as an email attachment, targeting the Windows platform," Adobe said in its advisory.

"Adobe is not aware of any attacks via PDF targeting Adobe Reader and Acrobat. Adobe Reader X Protected Mode mitigations would prevent an exploit of this kind from executing."

Adobe Acrobat Reader X's Sandbox feature would prevent the attack from exploiting the system when using PDF files, the software developer said.

"However, since the vulnerability exists in Flash, a machine can be exploited in other formats and applications that support flash, such as webpages and Office documents," security firm Websense warned on a blog.

The software developer said it was working on a patch, but noted the flaw in Adobe Reader X will not be addressed until 14 June due to the sandbox protection.

The vulnerability bears a stark resemblance to a Flash flaw which emerged just last month, where targeted attacks were also seen.

Attacks appeared in the wild using a corrupted Flash file, or SWF file, embedded inside a Microsoft Excel document sent out to targets.

Hackers exploited this now-patched vulnerability in successfully hacking security firm RSA.

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.