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Home » Hacking News » Acrobat documents make Unix vulnerable

Acrobat documents make Unix vulnerable

by Nikola Strahija on July 6th, 2005 Adobe has warned of a serious flaw affecting one of the most widely distributed client applications, Acrobat Reader. The flaw leaves users open to attack through maliciously crafted PDF files, which can be spread via e-mail attachments web page links, and can be used to take control of a system.

-Remote exploitation of a buffer overflow in Adobe Acrobat Reader for Unix could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code, said security firm iDefense, which discovered the flaw, in an advisory.

The vulnerability affects Acrobat Reader 5.x for Unix and Linux, which has a large installed base despite the availability of newer versions. The problem is in the function UnixAppOpenFilePerform(), which is called by Acrobat Reader while opening certain documents, iDefense said. User-supplied data is copied into a fixed-sized stack buffer, which leads to a stack-based buffer overflow and the execution of arbitrary code. A remote attacker can easily choose data to exploit the hole without needing to know stack addresses, said the firm.

The bug is made somewhat less dangerous by the fact that two error messages appear before the exploit takes effect, but closing the message windows doesn't stop the attack from taking place.

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