US-CERT Technical Cyber Security Alert TA09-133B -- Adobe Reader and Acrobat JavaScript Vulnerabilities




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National Cyber Alert System

Technical Cyber Security Alert TA09-133B


Adobe Reader and Acrobat JavaScript Vulnerabilities

Original release date: May 13, 2009
Last revised: --
Source: US-CERT


Systems Affected

* Adobe Reader versions 9.1, 8.1.4, 7.1.1 and earlier

* Adobe Acrobat Standard, Pro, and Pro Extended versions 9.1,
8.1.4, 7.1.1 and earlier


Overview

Adobe has released Security Bulletin APSB09-06, which describes
Adobe Reader and Acrobat updates for two JavaScript vulnerabilities
that could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code.


I. Description

Adobe Security Bulletin APSB09-06 announces updates for two
JavaScript vulnerabilities that affect Adobe Reader and Acrobat.

* A vulnerability in the getAnnots() method (CVE-2009-1492)
affects Adobe Reader and Acrobat for Microsoft Windows, Apple
Mac OS X, and UNIX.

* A vulnerability in the customDictionaryOpen() method
(CVE-2009-1493) appears to only affect Adobe Reader for UNIX.

Further details are available in Vulnerability Note VU#970180.

An attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities by convincing a
user to open a specially crafted Adobe Portable Document Format
(PDF) file. Acrobat integrates with popular web browsers, and
visiting a website is usually sufficient to cause Reader or Acrobat
to open a PDF file.


II. Impact

By convincing a victim to open a specially crafted PDF file, a
remote, unauthenticated attacker may be able to execute arbitrary
code.


III. Solution

Update

Adobe has released updates to address this issue. Users are
encouraged to read Adobe Security Bulletin APSB09-06 and update
vulnerable versions of Adobe Reader and Acrobat. According to
APSB09-06, these vulnerabilities are addressed in versions 9.1.1,
8.1.5, and 7.1.2 of Adobe Reader and Acrobat.

Disable JavaScript in Adobe Reader and Acrobat

Disabling JavaScript prevents these vulnerabilities from being
exploited and reduces attack surface. If this workaround is
applied to updated versions of the Adobe Reader and Acrobat, it
may protect against future vulnerabilities.

To disable JavaScript in Adobe Reader:

1. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader.
2. Open the Edit menu.
3. Choose the Preferences... option.
4. Choose the JavaScript section.
5. Uncheck the Enable Acrobat JavaScript check box.

Disabling JavaScript will not resolve the vulnerabilities, it
will only disable the vulnerable JavaScript component. When
JavaScript is disabled, Adobe Reader and Acrobat prompt to
re-enable JavaScript when opening a PDF that contains JavaScript.

Prevent Internet Explorer from automatically opening PDF documents

The installer for Adobe Reader and Acrobat configures Internet
Explorer to automatically open PDF files without any user
interaction. This behavior can be reverted to the safer option of
prompting the user by importing the following as a .REG file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AcroExch.Document.7]"EditFlags"=hex:00,00,00,00

Disable the display of PDF documents in the web browser

Preventing PDF documents from opening inside a web browser
reduces attack surface. If this workaround is applied to updated
versions of the Adobe Reader and Acrobat, it may protect against
future vulnerabilities. To prevent PDF documents from
automatically being opened in a web browser with Adobe Reader:

1. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader.
2. Open the Edit menu.
3. Choose the preferences option.
4. Choose the Internet section.
5. Un-check the "Display PDF in browser" check box.

Rename or remove Annots.api

To disable the vulnerable getAnnots() method, rename or remove
the Annots.api file. This will disable some Annotation
functionality, however annotations can still be viewed. This does
not protect against the customDictionaryOpen() vulnerability. On
Windows, Annots.api is typically located here:

"%ProgramFiles%\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Reader\plug_ins"

Example location on GNU/Linux:

/opt/Adobe/Reader8/Reader/intellinux/plug_ins/Annots.api

Do not access PDF documents from untrusted sources

Do not open unfamiliar or unexpected PDF documents, particularly
those hosted on web sites or delivered as email
attachments. Please see Cyber Security Tip ST04-010.


IV. References

* Vulnerability Note VU#970180 -
<http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/970180>

* Cyber Security Tip ST04-010: Using Caution with Email Attachments -
<http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST04-010.html>

* Adobe Security Bulletin APSB09-06 -
<http://www.adobe.com/support/security/bulletins/apsb09-06.html>

* CVE-2009-1492 -
<http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2009-1492>

* CVE-2009-1493 -
<http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2009-1493>

____________________________________________________________________

The most recent version of this document can be found at:

<http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/techalerts/TA09-133B.html>
____________________________________________________________________

Feedback can be directed to US-CERT Technical Staff. Please send
email to <cert@xxxxxxxx> with "TA09-133B Feedback VU#970180" in
the subject.
____________________________________________________________________

For instructions on subscribing to or unsubscribing from this
mailing list, visit <http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/signup.html>.
____________________________________________________________________

Produced 2009 by US-CERT, a government organization.

Terms of use:

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____________________________________________________________________

Revision History

May 13, 2009: Initial release


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