New Adobe 0-day exploit (Dec 16, 2009)


SonicWALL UTM Research team found reports of new 0-day vulnerability (CVE-2009-4324) in Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.2 and earlier versions being exploited in the wild via malicious PDF files starting Monday, December 14, 2009. Adobe confirmed the vulnerability on December 15, 2009 and released a security advisory which can be found here.

Malicious PDF files are being spammed via e-mail in a series of targeted attacks starting early December, 2009. The e-mail attachment contains the malicious PDF exploit file. The sample e-mail messages look like below:


  • reference
  • Interview Request


  • note_20091210.pdf
  • outline of interview.pdf

Email Body #1:
Dear All

Please find attached the updated country briefing notes, and staff lists.

Kind regards

Email Body #2:
This is Fureer Angelica, diplomaic broadcaster for CNN in DC.
There’s growing concern about the U.S.-North Korea bilateral talks.
So, we’re planning an Interview about them.
Attached is the outline of the interview.

p.s. Detailed schedules will be followed soon if you accept the offer.

The specially crafted PDF file has a malicious executable file (name – AdobeUpdate.exe) embedded inside PDF flatedecode stream. When the victim opens the PDF file it performs following activities:

  • Exploits the vulnerability in Adobe Reader and executes the embedded malicious executable file.
  • Malicious executable file is dropped and executed from – (TEMP FOLDER)AdobeUpdate.exe [Detected as GAV: Genome.AAWD (Trojan)]
  • The executable further attempts to download another malware from:
    • [Detected as GAV: Tapaoux.A (Trojan)]

There is no patch currently available from the vendor and the only way to mitigate this vulnerability is to disable the JavaScript option inside Adobe Reader and Acrobat.

SonicWALL Gateway AntiVirus provides protection against this threat via GAV: Suspicious#exepdf (Worm) signature. SonicWALL also provides protection via IPS: PDF File with Javascript 1 and IPS: PDF File with Javascript 2 signatures.

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