Attackers Hit New Adobe Reader, Acrobat Flaw

Malicious hackers are targeting a previously unknown security hole in Adobe Reader and Acrobat to compromise Microsoft Windows machines, Adobe warned today.

Adobe says attackers are taking advantage of a newly discovered critical flaw that exists in Adobe Reader X (10.1.1) and earlier versions for Windows and Mac systems, and Adobe Reader 9.4.6 and earlier 9.x versions for UNIX, as well as Adobe Acrobat X (10.1.1) and earlier for Windows and Mac machines. A security bulletin warns of reports that the vulnerability is being actively exploited in “limited, targeted attacks in the wild against Adobe Reader 9.x on Windows.”

Adobe said it plans to ship an emergency update to address the vulnerability in Reader 9.x and Acrobat 9.x on Windows no later than the week of Dec. 12. Citing protections built into newer versions of its software, however, Adobe said it would not fix the flaw in Reader X or Acrobat X versions for Windows, Mac, or UNIX versions until Jan. 10, 2012, the date of its next scheduled quarterly security update. Adobe’s Brad Arkin explains more about the company’s reasoning behind this decision in a blog post published along with the advisory.

If you are using Adobe Reader or Acrobat, take a moment to make sure you have the latest version. It also never hurts to consider one of several free PDF reader alternatives to Adobe, including Foxit, PDF-Xchange Viewer, Nitro PDF and Sumatra PDF.

Update, Dec. 8, 3:02 p.m., ET: As one commenter has already noted, Foxit has released a security update for its reader. The latest version, 5.1.3, is available from this link.

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