Public Vulnerability Reports

Adobe Reader 6.0 .ETD File Format String Vulnerability



Adobe Acrobat Reader is a program for viewing Portable Document Format
(PDF) documents. More information is available at the following site:


Remote exploitation of a format string vulnerability in version 6.0.2
of Adobe's Reader could allow attackers to execute arbitrary code.

The problem specifically exists in the parsing of .etd files used in
eBook transactions. A .etd file containing a format string in the
'title' or 'baseurl' fields can cause an invalid memory access:


This may allow for the execution of arbitrary code.


Successful exploitation allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code
under the privileges of the local user. Remote exploitation is possible
by sending a specially crafted e-mail and attaching either the
maliciously crafted PDF document or a link to it.


iDEFENSE has confirmed that Adobe Reader version 6.0.2 is vulnerable.
It is suspected that earlier versions of Adobe Reader 6 are also
vulnerable. Adobe Acrobat may also be vulnerable.


Deleting the following file will prevent exploitation of this

"C:Program FilesAdobeAcrobat 6.0Readerplug_inseBook.api"

This will not impact reading .PDF files.

Removing this file prevents Adobe Reader from handling eBooks. When a
file handled by this plugin is detected, an error dialog box will
appear, offering to take the user to Adobe's website for information.


This vulnerability is addressed in Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0.3. Downloads
for platform specific versions are available at the links shown below:






The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
names CAN-2004-1153 to these issues. This is a candidate for inclusion
in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


10/13/2004   Initial vendor notification
10/14/2004   Initial vendor response
12/14/2004   Coordinated public disclosure


This vulnerability was discovered by Greg MacManus, iDEFENSE Labs.

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Copyright © 2004 Verisign, Inc.

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