While users wait for Adobe to issue a patch for the zero-day flaw affecting Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat, there are measures people can take to protect themselves. Here is some advice from security pros on how to mitigate the vulnerability.
It's no secret there is a zero-day flaw affecting Adobe Reader and Acrobat.
A solution, however, has been more elusive.
According to Secunia,
the vulnerability affects versions 9 and earlier and
is due specifically to an array indexing error in the processing of JBIG2
streams. The situation can be exploited
to corrupt arbitrary memory
via a specially crafted PDF file.
With attacks ongoing, Adobe Systems
has issued an updated advisory and
security companies have offered up some advice of their own for dodging
exploits circulating the Web. Here is some of the latest information about how
to protect your computer.
: Security pros recommend that users consider
and does not resolve the underlying issue.
- Set your browser to not automatically open PDFs: The current versions of
Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox automatically open PDFs by default.
"If you were to go to a compromised Web site that is trying to infect
you with malicious PDFs, you're going to be infected, unless your AV catches
it," noted Roel Schouwenberg, senior anti-virus researcher at Kaspersky
- Be wary of PDF files from unknown or untrusted sources: This should go
largely without saying, but users should avoid opening up PDF files if they are
- Consider enabling DEP (Data Execution Prevention) for Adobe Reader.
- Maintain up-to-date anti-virus protections: Many of the larger security
vendors such as Symantec and McAfee offer some sort of generic protection
against the flaw.
In addition to these, Sourcefire has created a homemade patch to serve as a band-aid
until Adobe releases a fix for the issue. The Sourcefire
patch can be downloaded here.
Officials at Adobe plan to make an update for Adobe Reader 9 and
Acrobat 9 available by March 11. In addition, Adobe is planning to make updates
available for Adobe Reader 7 and 8 and Acrobat 7 and 8 by March 18.