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Adobe Warns of Targeted Attacks Exploiting Flash Player Vulnerability

Adobe has issued a warning of a newly identified critical vulnerability in its Flash Player, and that the vulnerability is being exploited in targeted attacks via a Flash (.swf) file embedded in Microsoft Excel (.xls) files delivered via email.

According to the advisory, the vulnerability (CVE-2011-0609) could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. Adobe says it’s is not aware of attacks targeting Adobe Reader and Acrobat.

The vulnerability affects versions and earlier ( 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.

Adobe says it is in process of finalizing a fix for Adobe Flash Player, and expects to make available aversions during the week of March 21, 2011.

See Also: Attacks on Mobile and Embedded Systems: Current Trends

For Acrobat Reader X users, Adobe suggests users enable Protected Mode, which would prevent an exploit of this kind from executing. Protected Mode utilizes "sandboxing" technology based on Microsoft’s “Practical Windows Sandboxing technique ” – a method of isolating the application from the rest of the operating system and tightly controlling its resources. According to Brad Arkin at Adobe, if Acrobat Reader needs to perform an action that isn’t permitted in the sandboxed environment, such as writing to the user’s temporary folder or launching an attachment inside a PDF file using an external application, the requests are funneled through a “broker process,” which has a strict set of policies for what is allowed and disallowed to prevent access to dangerous functionality.

Adobe says it will address the vulnerability in Adobe Reader X for Windows with the next quarterly security update for Adobe Reader, currently scheduled for June 14, 2011.

Vulnerability Identifier: APSA11-01

CVE Number: CVE-2011-0609

Platform: All Platforms

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