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Adobe Releases Guidance for Launch Functionality Mitigation in Acrobat and Reader

Original release date: April 07, 2010 | Last revised: October 23, 2012

Adobe has released a blog entry addressing a vulnerability in Acrobat and Reader. This vulnerability exists due to the way in which Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader handle launch actions embedded in PDFs. When users open a PDF that contains a launch action, they are presented with a dialog box warning the user that a file and its viewer application are set to be launched by the PDF file. The dialog box asks users if they want to continue opening the file and displays the name of the file to be opened. An attacker may be able to manipulate the content in the file name section of the dialog box in an attempt to convince users to open the file. By default, the dialog is set to select the option to continue opening the file. This default configuration and the option to disable the warning message for future launch actions makes it very easy for users to bypass this security mechanism. Opening a PDF containing malicious launch actions may result in arbitrary code execution.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review the Adobe Reader blog entry related to this issue and apply the guidance provided in the entry to help mitigate some of the risks.

US-CERT will provide additional information as it becomes available.

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