Monday, March 14, 2011

Security Advisory for Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader and Acrobat

Release date: March 14, 2011
Vulnerability identifier: APSA11-01
CVE number: CVE-2011-0609
Platform: All Platforms

A critical vulnerability exists in Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions (Adobe Flash Player and earlier for Chrome users) for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris operating systems, Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions for Android, and the Authplay.dll component that ships with Adobe Reader and Acrobat X (10.0.1) and earlier 10.x and 9.x versions of Reader and Acrobat for Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

This vulnerability (CVE-2011-0609) could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There are reports that this vulnerability is being exploited in the wild in targeted attacks via a Flash (.swf) file embedded in a Microsoft Excel (.xls) file delivered as an email attachment. At this time, Adobe is not aware of attacks targeting Adobe Reader and Acrobat. Adobe Reader X Protected Mode mitigations would prevent an exploit of this kind from executing.

We are in the process of finalizing a fix for the issue and expect to make available an update for Flash Player 10.x and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Solaris and Android, and an update for Adobe Acrobat X (10.0.1) and earlier 10.x and 9.x versions for Windows and Macintosh, Adobe Reader X (10.0.1) for Macintosh, and Adobe Reader 9.4.2 and earlier 9.x versions during the week of March 21, 2011. Because Adobe Reader X Protected Mode would prevent an exploit of this kind from executing, we are currently planning to address this issue in Adobe Reader X for Windows with the next quarterly security update for Adobe Reader, currently scheduled for June 14, 2011.


Given that the primay attack vector is Flash embedded in Office documents, I would recommend disabling the Flash Browser Plug-in (for Firefox, IE and Chrome) until patches are released. Additionaly, the exploit could be triggered in a drive-by-download browser fashion, if a victim browses (or tricked into browsing to) a malicious Flash file on the Internet.

For defense-in-depth, I would recommend upgrading Adobe Reader to the latest version and making sure that 'Protected Mode' is enabled. Users running newer versions of Windows (Vista / Windows 7) should get added protection from ASLR and DEP.

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