Adobe to patch 2-year-old Shockwave vulnerability next year

The flaws could allow remote code to be executed, one of the most severe kinds of vulnerabilities

Adobe plans in February to close a dangerous hole in its Shockwave application that causes the application to be downgraded when a user launches older multimedia content, allowing hackers to target years-old vulnerabilities.

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (U.S. CERT) issued an advisory on the vulnerability, which could allow an attacker to deliver malware and execute arbitrary code, considered to be one of the most dangerous kinds of flaws.

U.S. CERT notified Adobe of the problem on Oct. 27, 2010, but an Adobe spokesperson said Wednesday that the problem will be closed with the next major upgrade of Shockwave, scheduled for Feb. 12.

"We are not aware of any active exploits or attacks in the wild using this particular technique," said Wiebke Lips, senior manager with Adobe corporate communications. Adobe did not consider the issue a high risk to users.

Shockwave is used to play content created in Macromedia and Adobe Director, which offers advanced tools for creating interactive content, including Flash.

U.S. CERT cited Adobe documentation that says if a user encounters content that does not specify to use the latest Shockwave version 11, an older ActiveX control is downloaded that pulls components of the older Shockwave 10 player. Shockwave uses an ActiveX control when content is requested within Microsoft's Internet Explorer and is present as a plugin in other browsers, according to U.S. CERT.

The Shockwave 10 runtime contains vulnerabilities as well as the application's "Xtras," which are components of content. The downgrading of Shockwave to an older version also opens up Adobe's Flash multimedia application for attack, the agency said.

"Because of this design, attackers can simply target vulnerabilities in the Shockwave 10 runtime, or any of the Xtras provided by Shockwave 10," U.S. CERT wrote. "For example, the legacy version of Shockwave provides Flash 8.0.34.0, which was released on November 14, 2006 and contains multiple, known vulnerabilities."

U.S. CERT has published two other document describing the issues with Xtras and Flash, which Adobe said it is analyzing. The first concerns Shockwave's downgrading to an older Flash version, which affects both Windows and Apple's Mac. The second involves the problem of malicious Xtras.

"We are not aware of any active exploits or attacks in the wild using these techniques either," Lips said.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Adobe SystemssecurityExploits / vulnerabilities

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jeremy Kirk

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place