Adobe Reader and the Adobe Acrobat family of software is designed to create, view, and edit Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Adobe Reader is widely deployed, and the Acrobat Reader Plug-In displays PDF inside a web browser.
By convincing a user to open a specially crafted PDF file, an attacker may be able to execute arbitrary code.
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
Disable the displaying 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 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:
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:
Example location on GNU/Linux:
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.
These vulnerabilities were publicly reported by Arr1val.
This document was written by Art Manion.