Symantec Warns to Update Now

Dennis Faas's picture

Just this week Adobe patched a major problem with its Acrobat and Reader programs. The issue? Flaws that could allow malicious exploits. Now, it seems hackers are using the precious time between update release and update download to unleash a flood of malicious code.

According to Symantec Corporation, the exploits are still alive and well for the bulk of users yet to update. "This mass mailing of exploit files may be an attempt to leverage the exposure window between patch release and widespread adoption of the fix," they said.

What should Adobe users be on the lookout for?

Symantec warns everyone to avoid YOUR_BILL.pdf and INVOICE.pdf especially, but to also be wary of just about any PDF file arriving via email. Even if your electronic mail program doesn't identify the file or sender as spammy, making sure you're well acquainted with the sender (and they like you). (Source:

What can happen if I open such a PDF file?

The bug itself exploits the "mailto:" protocol hole identified quite a while ago by U.K. researcher Petko Petkov. In my last article on the subject, neither Microsoft nor Adobe had mentioned him or whether they took his early warnings seriously.

Once the user opens the rogue PDF file via email, the PDF immediately launches a Trojan dubbed "Pidief.a". This will besiege and eventually topple a computer's defenses (Windows Firewall), before downloading another set of malware that allows a remote hacker to hijack the PC. (Source:

Although Adobe appears to have made a satisfactory fix with the release of update Version 8.1.1., it takes a user downloading that patch in order to eradicate the threat. Since many people still haven't even heard either the bug or the fix exist, hackers are using their slowly closing window of opportunity to cause as much trouble as possible.

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