While analyzing an instance of the Angler exploit kit, French security researcher Kafeine identified what appears to be an exploit for an Adobe Flash Player zero-day vulnerability.
The cybercriminals behind the Angler exploit kit often leverage Flash Player vulnerabilities to distribute malware. In some cases, they add Flash Player exploits shortly after the vulnerabilities are patched by Adobe. However, the use of zero-day flaws is rare.
According to Kafeine, the Flash Player zero-day exploit is not included in all instances of Angler.
Adobe has not confirmed the reports, but the company’s representatives told SecurityWeek that they are investigating the researcher’s findings.
The researcher says he has reproduced the exploit with the latest version of Flash Player in Internet Explorer 6 through 8 running on Windows XP, in Internet Explorer 8 running on Windows 7, and in Internet Explorer 10 running on Windows 8.
The exploit also affects Internet Explorer 11 running on a fully updated versions of Windows 8.1, and even the Firefox Web browser, Kafeine clarified on Thursday. Chrome is not impacted.
“Disabling Flash Player for some days might be a good idea,” Kafeine wrote in a blog post.
Malwarebytes, whose Anti Exploit solution blocks the attack, has determined that this particular instance of Angler is trying to install a piece of malware known as Bedep.
Bedep is a distribution botnet that’s capable of loading multiple payloads on infected hosts. In this case, the payload is an ad fraud component.
“Upon infection, explorer.exe (not to be confused with iexplore.exe) is injected and performs the ad fraud calls,” said Jerome Segura, senior security researcher at Malwarebytes.
Symantec is also analyzing the Flash Player zero-day. The security firm has noted that the SWF file utilized in the attack is detected by its products as Trojan.Swifi.
*Updated to clarify that Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1 and Firefox are also impacted