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Hackers Tapped Adobe Reader Flaw Through Comic Strip Syndicate

Albany, New York (USA) based Hearst publication Timesunion.com, claimed on December 17, 2009 that readers of its comics section started complaining of being provoked to install harmful program.

As per the reports, hackers penetrated the comic strip syndication service and inserted dangerous code that could exploit newly found security flaw in Adobe Reader and Acrobat.

In an update posted on website, Timesunion.com stated that it had found the attack root to a problem at King Features, which supply comics to its site, and King Features had rectified the problem.

Brand Development Manager of King Features, Rose Croke, claimed that the harmful code was inserted in the firm's Web server that managed content for its Comic Kingdom clients. Croke also added that the content of Comic Kingdom was syndicated by nearly 50 different news websites, including Timesunion.com, as per the news by THE WASHINGTON POST on December 18, 2009.

King Features' authorities state that they have rectified the problem, but the comics will remain unavailable for time being. The Timesunion.com states that the problem was corrected on the homepage of Timesunion.com soon after 9 AM on December 17, 2009.

In the press release issued by King Features, it claimed that they honestly expressed regret for any hassle arisen due to the problem. It also informed users that Comics Kingdom was itself not hacked and users could host the content on their websites without any worry.

It is worth mentioning that the security problem in Acrobat Reader has brought to notice lately, and it is noted in the Cyber Security Alerts published by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). By persuading a user to open a particularly designed PDF file, an attacker can inject arbitrary code. The US-CERT claimed that public reports showed active exploitation of this vulnerability.

The antivirus watchdog gang ShadowServer.org said that the harmful code can be found by some antivirus software solutions. Therefore, users are suggested to use updated antivirus program.

Besides, to help mitigate the threats, experts commented users should be alert while opening PDF files from unreliable sources. Further, users should also Disable JavaScript in Adobe Acrobat and Reader.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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