The Zeus botnet is now using an unpatched flaw in Adobe's PDF document format to infect users with malicious code, security researchers said.
The attacks come less than a week after other experts predicted that hackers would soon exploit the "/Launch" design flaw in PDF documents to install malware on unsuspecting users' computers.
The just-spotted Zeus variant uses a malicious PDF file that embeds the attack code in the document, said Dan
Hubbard, CTO of San Diego, California-based security company Websense. When users open the rogue PDF, they're asked to save a PDF file called "Royal_Mail_Delivery_Notice.pdf." That file, however, is actually a Windows executable that when it runs, hijacks the PC.
Zeus is the first major botnet to exploit a PDF's /Launch feature, which is, strictly speaking, not a security vulnerability but actually a by-design function of Adobe's specification. Earlier this month, Belgium researcher Didier Stevens demonstrated how a multistage attack using /Launch could successfully exploit a fully-patched copy of Adobe Reader or Acrobat.
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