The hacking group GNUCitizen claimed on Thursday to have found a critical flaw in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) format that could let an attacker compromise a computer running the Windows operating system, if the user opens a specially-crafted PDF file.
The group did not publish any information about the flaw and declined to release any proof-of-concept (PoC) code to demonstrate the issue. The founder, a hacker who uses the handle "pdp," stated that the attack works on Adobe Acrobat 8.1 and Windows XP Service Pack 2.
"The issue is quite critical given the fact that PDF documents are in the core of todays modern business," the hacker wrote. "This and the fact that it may take a while for Adobe to fix their closed source product, are the reasons why I am not going to publish any POCs. You have to take my word for it."
Adobe could not immediately be reached for comment on the issue. A Microsoft spokesperson said the company is aware of the reports, but currently believes that its products are not affected.
Spammers and bot masters have increasingly made use of documents to send junk e-mail and attempt to infect recipients' systems with malicious software. While PDF files have been used to carry spam, the common document format has not usually been used as an infection vector. Most e-mail attacks, including the well-publicized attacks from China, have used Microsoft Office documents as the carrier for exploit code.
GNUCitizen has said that the exploit could potentially affect other programs for viewing PDF files, including Apple's Preview.
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Posted by: Robert Lemos