New Adobe Flash zero day flaw discovered

2014-05-06 07:35
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Cape Town - A zero day vulnerability in Adobe Flash software has been discovered and blocked, says a security company.

Kaspersky Lab announced on Monday that it had successfully identified and blocked a vulnerability in the popular software widely used to play online games and watch videos.

"The vulnerability exists in Pixel Bender - an old component, designed for video and photo processing," Kaspersky Lab said after it detected the flaw.

The company linked it to the Syrian government.

"Further investigation found that exploits were distributed from a website created in 2011 by the Syrian Ministry of Justice to enable people to lodge complaints about breaches of the law. We believe the attack was designed to target Syrian dissidents complaining about the government."

Spying tool

A zero day vulnerability is particularly dangerous to PCs because, as the term implies, there is no official software patch to fix the problem initially and criminals have some time to exploit the software.

Hackers could potentially exploit the software flaw to infiltrate PCs and take command of a system to launch attacks against company servers or download malware.

"The first exploit showed rather primitive download-and-execute payload behaviour, but the second one tried to interact with Cisco MeetingPlace Express Add-In - a special Flash plug-in for co-working, in particular, for joint viewing of documents and pictures on a presenter's PC desktop," said Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, Vulnerability Research Group manager at Kaspersky Lab.

He added that the bug could be used as a tool to spy on a target PC.

"This plug-in is completely legitimate, but in these particular circumstances it could be used as a spying tool. Moreover, we discovered that this 'second' exploit works only if a certain version of Flash Player and CMP Add-In are installed on the attacked PC. This means that attackers probably aimed at a very limited list of victims."

Criminals are known to be searching for ways to take over the microphone and webcam, in addition to recording keystrokes of PCs. This is so that it becomes easier to steal personal information like banking data.

Zakorzhevsky advised that PC users update Flash software, but warned that the slow pace of updates may render many machines which use the software as vulnerable.

"Even with a patch available, cybercriminals would expect to profit from this vulnerability because a worldwide update of software as widely used as Flash Player will take some time."

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