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Adobe Reader and Acrobat JPEG Processing Use After Free Vulnerability



Adobe Reader and Acrobat are portable document format (PDF) readers and processors. For more information, please visit the following pages:


Remote exploitation of a use after free vulnerability in Adobe Systems Inc.'s Reader could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the current user.

The vulnerability occurs when parsing a JPEG file embedded inside a PDF file. When processing specific JPEG markers, Adobe Reader creates an object on the stack and keeps a pointer to that object in another place. The pointer is later dereferenced after the object on the stack becomes invalid. This can lead to the execution of arbitrary code.


Exploitation of this vulnerability results in the execution of arbitrary code with the privileges of the user opening the file. To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker needs to use social engineering techniques to trick a user into opening a malicious PDF file. Since PDF files can be embedded into Web pages and parsed without interaction by default, an attacker can exploit this vulnerability as a typical browser vulnerability.


Adobe has reported the following products vulnerable:

* Adobe Reader X (10.1) and earlier 10.x versions for Windows and Macintosh * Adobe Reader 9.4.5 and earlier 9.x versions for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX * Adobe Reader 8.3 and earlier 8.x versions for Windows and Macintosh * Adobe Acrobat X (10.1) and earlier 10.x versions for Windows and Macintosh * Adobe Acrobat 9.4.5 and earlier 9.x versions for Windows and Macintosh * Adobe Acrobat 8.3 and earlier 8.x versions for Windows and Macintosh


iDefense is currently unaware of any workarounds for this issue.


Adobe has released fixes which addresses this issue. Information about downloadable vendor updates can be found by clicking on the URLs shown.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2011-2440 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


06/08/2011 Initial Vendor Notification
06/08/2011 Vendor Reply
09/13/2011 Coordinated Public Disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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Copyright © 2011 Verisign, Inc.

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