Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Windows XP zero day gives attackers a way around Adobe Sandbox

To XP or not to XP

Article comments

A new zero day flaw in Windows XP and Server 2003 is being exploited in the wild to bypass the sandbox on unpatched versions of Adobe Reader, security firm FireEye has reported.

According to the firm’s analysis, the vulnerability allows for a standard user running XP SP3 to elevate privileges to admin level, allowing a targeted attack on users running Reader versions 9.5.4, 10.1.6, 11.0.02 and before using a malicious PDF.

“An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in kernel mode. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full administrative rights,” said Microsoft in a separate advisory (2914486).

In other words, attackers hitting this flaw can beat Adobe’s sandbox by routing their sneakiness via a lower-level call through the OS itself.

The issue has been designated CVE-2013-5065 and an out-of-band patch looks like a distinct possibility given its seriousness.

“Upon completion of this investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to help protect our customers. This may include providing a security update through our monthly release process or providing an out-of-cycle security update, depending on customer needs,” said Microsoft’s advisory, dropping a heavy hint that early action was likely.

In order to fix the problem, users are advised to update Adobe Reader to a later version or simply abandon Windows XP for Windows 7 or 8.

News of the issue will be taken as further confirmation that users need to get off XP although privilege elevation flaws can in principle affect any OS from time to time. They have become rarer in recent years, hence their importance when they surface.

A month ago Microsoft’s Q3 Security Intelligence Report (SIR) found that XP was not only more likely to encounter malware but significantly more likely to fall prey to it all things being equal. Later versions of Windows – especially Windows 8 – are architected with a greater level of low-level security designed to beat off some attacks.

Windows XP might be a dying operating system but it can still throw up some nasty surprises. This won’t be the last one.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Anteaus said: Users need to get off XPNot the root of the matter Users need to get off Adobe Reader and Flash Player There are safer alternatives to Adobe Reader If Flash Player cannot be avoided install an add-on which prevents it activating unless the item is clicked

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *