Vulnerability Flagged in Adobe Version Cue

Updated: Flaw in Version 1.0 of the program running on OS X could enable a hacker with local sign-on to commandeer a system.

A security flaw was disclosed today in Adobe Systems Inc.s Version Cue software—the second security flaw in the companys software discerned during the last month.

The latest flaw was reported Monday by iDefense Inc., a provider of security intelligence to governments and Fortune 500 organizations, based in Reston, Va., near Washington, D.C.

The vulnerability was discovered in Adobe Version Cue 1.0, a software tracking system for programs distributed with Adobe Creative Suite and other products. The flaw is absent in the current shipping version of the product, a part of Creative Suite 2, released in April, Adobe officials said.

According to an advisory issued by iDefense, local exploitation of a design error in Version Cue allows hackers to gain root privileges on a PC.

The software contains a root application, dubbed VCNative, that contains a "design error," the iDefense advisory said.

"The vulnerability specifically exists due to an unchecked command-line-option parameter," it warned.

"The -lib command line option allows users to specify library bundles, which allows for the introduction of arbitrary code in the context of a root-owned process. By utilizing the -lib argument to load a malicious library, local attackers can execute arbitrary code with root privileges."

Adobe released a "vendor advisory," as well as a patch for the latest problem.

The company said that the identified vulnerability is caused by special file permissions on internal Version Cue application files.

"This vulnerability cannot be exploited by users who do not have local login accounts on that computer. The security update amends the internal Version Cue Workspace files so that special file permissions are no longer needed or utilized," Adobe said.

"Despite the fact that this [problem] is affecting older technology, Adobe responded quickly to the problem and provided a fix," said Bob Schaffel, Adobe senior product manager. He observed that the rewritten code in CS2 avoided the vulnerability altogether.

While iDefense considered the flaw of low severity, other security experts did not minimize the Adobe problem.

David Maynor, researcher at X-Force at Internet Security Systems, based in Atlanta, told Ziff Davis Internet that the problem is really "two separate vulnerabilities—one allows a user to subvert a file creation process by the tool to get pretty much any command the attacker wants executed."

Just a little more than a week ago, San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe itself disclosed that there was a flaw in another Adobe software product, the popular Acrobat and Reader applications.

By crafting a malicious PDF file, a hacker could cause the apps to crash, or, perhaps even commandeer the PC.

Analysts said such attacks would likely be spread through phishing efforts—deceptive ploys designed to compel users to open a file from someone they think they know or trust.

A spokesman for Mountain View, Calif.-based Iconix Inc., Jan Tarzia, told Ziff Davis Internet that the company is about to introduce a new solution that could prevent those kinds of phishing scams in the future.

"Rather than warning users or flagging suspect e-mails, they take a proactive approach to highlight known, good messages," said Tarzia.

Phishing scams reached an all-time high in May 2005, when MessageLabs intercepted more than 9 million fraudulent e-mails, spokeswoman Jessica Bookach told Ziff-Davis Internet.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read about Corels campaign to win small business customers.

Last week, Adobe and Macromedia Inc. finalized Adobes acquisition during their respective shareholder meetings. The deal is expected to close this fall.

Research published last week indicated that the company had "robust sales" of Creative Suite 2 during the first 15 weeks of its current sales cycle.

Sales are expected to be solid for several consecutive quarters for Adobe, according to the research note.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include information from Adobe officials.

/zimages/2/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.