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Adobe to Patch Flash Zero-Day Exploited by Russian Attackers

Adobe announced on Wednesday that it expects to release a patch for the recently disclosed Flash Player zero-day exploited in targeted attacks by a Russian threat group during the week of October 19.

According to the company, the critical vulnerability (CVE-2015-7645) affects Flash Player and earlier for Windows and Mac, and and earlier 11.x versions for Linux. Adobe noted in its advisory that it’s aware of limited, targeted attacks exploiting the flaw.

The existence of the security hole was brought to light on Tuesday, shortly after Adobe released a Flash Player update that addressed 13 issues.

Researchers at Trend Micro discovered the vulnerability while analyzing the operations of the Russian threat actor Pawn Storm (also known as APT28, Sednit, Fancy Bear, Sofacy and Tsar Team).

The group, which is believed to be linked to the Russian government, has been exploiting the Flash Player zero-day in attacks aimed at several Ministries of Foreign Affairs from all over the world. The attackers lured their victims to websites hosting the exploit via spear phishing emails that used suicide car bombings in Kabul, airstrikes in Syria and Gaza, and other military-related topics as a lure.

Researchers have pointed out that the URLs used by the APT group were similar to the ones spotted earlier this year in attacks aimed at the White House and NATO members.

The cyber espionage actor, which has been around since at least 2007, has targeted military, government, media, and defense organizations from across the world.

Pawn Storm has used six zero-day vulnerabilities in the last year, Tom Kellermann, chief cybersecurity officer at Trend Micro, told SecurityWeek on Tuesday. This includes Java, Windows, and Flash Player zero-days, including some of the exploits leaked as a result of the breach suffered earlier this year by the Italian spyware maker Hacking Team.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.