Thanks to the wonderful tendency of users not to update their applications, old vulnerabilities never die, they just get overtaken by newer and shinier ones. The attackers know this well, and every once in a while they serve up a nice reminder to the rest of us. The most recent one of these is a string of attacks against an Adobe Reader vulnerability from 2010.
The vulnerability, which is more than two years old, is a flaw in Reader and Acrobat that can be exploited remotely. At the time of the first reports about the bug, there were active attacks going on against it and exploit code was circulating online. But the CVE-2010-0188 bug didn’t turn into one of those huge things that involve widespread malware attacks and so on. And it’s been patched for a long time at this point, but that doesn’t mean it’s of no use to the bad guys anymore.
The attacks against this bug have been coming in waves for the last month or so, and Symantec researchers said that the company has seen more than 10,000 such attacks in just the last couple of weeks.
The shell code includes an obfuscated URL to which the code attempts to connect and then download an executable.
“It clearly shows that a malicious executable file will be downloaded once the shellcode gets executed successfully. Unfortunately, the malicious file link only existed for a very short time and we have been unable to retrieve the actual executable sample as yet,” Zhang said.