Vulnerability Management

Adobe confirms PDF tracking issue, plans to ship fix soon

Adobe has confirmed what it deems to be a "low-severity" issue in Reader and Acrobat that could allow someone to track a PDF document.

"A user's IP address and time stamp could be exposed when opening a specially crafted PDF," according to an Adobe Product Security Incident Response Team blog post published Thursday.

The company said the issue – Adobe did not classify it as a "vulnerability" – would be resolved May 14, the next scheduled update for the popular software.

A week ago, researchers at security firm McAfee disclosed the problem, which they considered a vulnerability.

The flaw, which is being exploited in the wild, affects all versions of Reader, including the most recent, 11.0.2. While the hole does not enable remote code execution – the most serious outcome a vulnerability can have – it can permit a sender "to see when and where the PDF is opened," McAfee researcher Haifei Li wrote in an April 26 blog post.

Li said McAfee is aware of the issue being actively leveraged. It has spotted a number of PDF samples sent by an email tracking service provider. Researchers, however, are unsure if this was done with malicious intentions, such as part of an advanced persistent threat (APT)-style attack.

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