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Adobe Investigating Zero-Day PDF Vulnerability

A "bug for all seasons" looks to be the legacy carved out for Adobe Systems as 2009 winds to a close.

On Monday, Symantec described a new bug affecting Adobe products, calling it a "zero-day Xmas present" for users of Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader. The malware attacks via a Trojan hidden in PDF e-mail attachments.

According to Symantec, clicking a specially crafted PDF e-mail attachment drops a piece of malware called "Trojan.Pidief.H." The antivirus software firm describes Trojan.Pidief.H as a "very low-risk" bug. It affects most Windows systems except for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.

For its part, Adobe said in a short advisory on Monday that it was "investigating the issue and assessing risk to Adobe customers."

The new bug is just part of an old pattern, according to Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle.

"We've all been to this movie before, and the last time we saw it, it wasn't that long ago," Storms said. "This year, there have been too many JavaScript attack vectors on Adobe [software]. Time to move this one to the top of the list."

Adobe Systems began 2009 by reporting some high-profile security flaws in its products. By the summer, Adobe had pledged to step up its patching process. By the fall, Adobe was piggybacking on Microsoft's Patch Tuesday security update release cycle, since many Adobe products work with Windows and Internet Explorer.

Storms said that with this latest bug, Adobe still is hoarding information on the mitigation steps, "providing minimal information to users."

"As if that wasn't bad enough, third-party sites are suggesting that the best mitigation strategy is to disable JavaScript, a solution that basically cripples the Adobe's products and makes them more or less unusable," he said.

About the Author

Jabulani Leffall is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times of London, Investor's Business Daily, The Economist and CFO Magazine, among others.

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