Not using Adobe’s PDF reader doesn’t mean you’re avoiding PDF malware

Graham Cluley

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Something like 400 million people use Foxit’s PDF reader.

And as a dozen vulnerabilities have been found in the software, one hopes that 400 million people are checking they have updated their copy.

ThreatPost has the details about the vulnerabilities found in builds 7.3.4.311 and earlier of Foxit Reader and Foxit PhantomPDF:

To exploit the vulnerabilities an attacker could use an image file – either a BMP, TIFF, GIF, or JPEG image – to trigger a read memory past the end of an allocated buffer, or object. From there, depending on the vulnerability, an attacker could either leverage the vulnerability as is, or use it in conjunction with other vulnerabilities to “execute code in the context of the current process.”

In other words, an attacker could simply send you a boobytrapped PDF file and if you happened to open it in Foxit’s PDF reader – kaboom!

Alternatively, you could be tricked into visiting a webpage containing a malformed PDF file.

I would understand completely if you have turned your back on Adobe’s PDF reader. The software, and its Adobe Flash Player stablemate, have often been found lacking with exploitable vulnerabilities.

But don’t think that avoiding Adobe Reader means that you somehow have protected yourself from PDF-borne malware. Foxit users would be wise to check that they are running an updated version of the software.

Read Foxit’s security bulletin here.

Graham Cluley Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.
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