If you have any of the following Adobe Reader and Acrobat programs, you are at risk of being targeted by the attacks that Adobe has recently been hit with. At risk programs are: Adobe Reader X (10.1.1) and earlier 10.x versions, Adobe Reader 9.4.6 and earlier 9.x versions, Adobe Acrobat X (10.1.1) and earlier 10.x versions, and Adobe Acrobat 9.4.6 and earlier 9.x versions. These versions are for both Windows users and Mac users. The adobe reader for Google Android phones and Flash are not included in the programs affected.
The hacker’s methods seem to be causing the crash of a system through the use of malicious pdf files, and then taking control of the system once it crashes. Adobe is reported to be releasing an out of sequence update for the 9.4.6 version the week of December 12th that will specifically help Windows users, but the other platforms will not be released until January 10th. The reason for the Windows update to be released sooner is that the hackers are currently attacking this particular platform and version which puts it at the top of the list in terms of patches.
Despite the delay in the later version patches being released the hacks can be stopped by enhancing the security options in your preferences section. It is definitely a step worth taking since updates can’t be released right away.
Paul Henry, security and forensic analyst for Lumension Security says. “As recent as 2009, Adobe earned the title of “most hacked software of the year” The reason for this being that 80% of the hacks this year came from malicious PDFs. Henry went on to say “PDF files have long been a popular vehicle to transport obfuscated malware in Spear Phishing Attacks and this vulnerability makes that task even easier.”
Those with the 9.4.6 and 9 versions and use windows might want to consider upgrading to the X versions and enabling that enhanced security. Even if it’s a month away before the patches come, the enhanced security will be a protection until help arrives, and so far, the only version to be hacked is that 9.4.6 version.
Adobe credits Lockheed Martin Corp (NYSE:LMT) and other companies that are in the DSIE (Defense Security Information Exchange) with finding the vulnerability. Lockheed spokesperson Jennifer Whitlow reported that the issue was reported to Adobe right away during regular monitoring activities.
Earlier this year in May, Lockheed had been targeted in a very tenacious and significant attack, but nothing had been penetrated. Whitlow further states in an email: “Our systems blocked any access by the adversary and Lockheed Martin information systems remain secure.”
As more and more would be attackers go after our computer systems there will be an ongoing and growing need for increased and enhanced security measures that prevent attacks and even disable them before they start. It makes being careful when you’re online, whether surfing, working, or researching even more critical.