Microsoft Vulnerability Research Advisory MSVR13-007
Heap Corruption in Nitro Reader Could Allow Arbitrary Code Execution
Published: May 21, 2013
Microsoft is providing notification of the discovery and remediation of a vulnerability affecting Nitro Pro (version 188.8.131.52 and earlier versions) and Nitro Reader (version 184.108.40.206 and earlier versions). Microsoft discovered and disclosed the vulnerability under coordinated vulnerability disclosure to the affected vendor, Nitro PDF. Nitro PDF has remediated the vulnerability in their software.
A vulnerability exists in the way that Nitro Pro and Nitro Reader write to memory when parsing specially crafted PDF files. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.
Microsoft Vulnerability Research reported this issue to and coordinated with Nitro PDF to ensure remediation of this issue. The vulnerability has been assigned the entry CVE-2013-3553 in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list. For more information, including information about updates from Nitro PDF, see Nitro Reader 2 - Release Notes or Nitro Pro 7 - Release Notes
- This vulnerability cannot be exploited automatically through email. For an email-based attack to be successful, a user must open a malicious attachment that is sent in an email message.
- In a web-based attack scenario, an attacker could host a website that contains a specially crafted file that is used to exploit this vulnerability. In addition, compromised websites and websites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements could contain specially crafted content that could exploit the vulnerability. In all cases, however, an attacker would have no way to force users to visit these websites. Instead, an attacker would have to convince users to visit the website, typically by getting them to click a link in an email message or Instant Messenger message that takes users to the attacker's website, and then convince them to open the specially crafted file.
- An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.
Purpose and Recommendation
Purpose of Advisory: To notify users of a vulnerability and its remediation.
Advisory Status: Advisory published.
Recommendation: Review the Suggested Actions section and configure as appropriate.
For more information about this issue, see the following references:
|Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures||CVE-2013-3553|
Affected and Non-Affected Software
This advisory discusses the following software:
|Nitro Pro version 220.127.116.11 and earlier versions|
|Nitro Reader version 18.104.22.168 and earlier versions|
|Nitro Pro version 22.214.171.124|
|Nitro Pro version 8.5|
|Nitro Reader version 126.96.36.199|
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the scope of this advisory?
This advisory is part of a coordinated release with affected vendors to inform customers of a security issue that may affect their systems.
Is this a security vulnerability that requires Microsoft to issue a security update?
No. This vulnerability has been fixed via an update from the affected third-party vendors. The update remediates the software listed in the Affected Software table.
What is the scope of the vulnerability?
This is a remote code execution vulnerability.
What causes the vulnerability?
The vulnerability is caused when affected Nitro PDF software attempts to write data to an invalid address in memory while parsing a specially crafted PDF file.
What might an attacker use this vulnerability to do?
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in the security context of the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights
How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability?
An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by tricking a user into opening a specially crafted file with an affected version of Nitro PDF software. Typically, these specially crafted files are delivered via social engineering techniques in email, instant messaging, or via download links on websites. This vulnerability cannot be exploited without user interaction.
Update to the latest version of Nitro Pro and Nitro Reader.
Microsoft thanks the following:
- Jeremy Brown of Microsoft and Nitro PDF for working toward a resolution
The information provided in this advisory is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Microsoft disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers be liable for any damages whatsoever including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, loss of business profits or special damages, even if Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers have been advised of the possibility of such damages. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages so the foregoing limitation may not apply.
- V1.0 (May 21, 2013): Advisory published.
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