Adobe warns of critical Acrobat and Reader flaws on Windows and macOS

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Adobe has urged Windows and macOS users to update their Acrobat and Reader applications after discovering that they contained flaws that could be exploited to execute arbitrary code.

Among the critical vulnerabilities are a heap-based buffer overflow (CVE-2020-24435), an arbitrary JavaScript execution (CVE-2020-24432), an out-of-bounds write bug (CVE-2020-24436) and two use-after free flaws (CVE-2020-24430 and CVE-2020-24437).

There are also bugs that allow local privilege escalation, including an improper access control flaw (CVE-2020-24433), a signature-verification bypass problem (CVE-2020-24429) and a race-condition flaw (CVE-2020-24428).

Another severe flaw comes from a security feature bypass that could enable dynamic library injection (CVE-2020-24431).

The flaws affect Acrobat DC and Acrobat Reader DC Continuous versions 2020.012.20048 and earlier; (for Windows and macOS); Acrobat and Acrobat Reader Classic 2020 versions 2020.001.30005 and earlier (for Windows and macOS) and Acrobat and Acrobat Reader Classic 2017 versions 2017.011.30175 and earlier (for Windows and macOS).

Adobe said that users can update applications to Acrobat DC and Acrobat Reader DC Continuous version 2020.013.20064; Acrobat and Acrobat Reader Classic 2020 version 2020.001.30010 and Acrobat and Acrobat Reader Classic 2017 version 2017.011.30180.

The company has also removed all Flash components from its PDF products. In its listing of top new features, the firm said that Flash is now deprecated and no longer used in Acrobat.

“The various options available in a Form response file that were Flash dependent — Update, Filter, Export (All/Selected), Archive (All/Selected), Add, and Delete — are no longer available. These options are now replaced with the secondary toolbar having options to Update, Add, Delete, Export, and Archive the responses,” read the web page.

In addition, Adobe's PDFMaker menu in Microsoft's Word and PowerPoint apps have lost the Insert Media button. This enabled Office users to embed Flash content in documents.

"By default, Microsoft has disabled the ability to add Flash or Rich media content in the Office documents. If your document already has flash content embedded in it, Acrobat prevents embedding of Flash or Rich media in the converted PDF file and adds an image instead," read the web page.

"If you have enabled the Flash content in Microsoft documents, Acrobat adds a blank box in the converted PDF file."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.