Adobe Patches Reader Flaws That Earned Hackers $150,000 at Chinese Contest

Adobe on Tuesday announced security updates for several products, including for Acrobat and Reader, in which the software giant patched a total of 26 vulnerabilities.

Of the 26 security holes fixed in the Windows and macOS versions of Acrobat and Reader, 16 have been assigned a “critical” severity rating (high severity based on their CVSS score), and a majority are memory-related issues that can be exploited for arbitrary code execution.

Four of these critical vulnerabilities — CVE-2021-44704 through CVE-2021-44707 — were disclosed by four different teams at China’s Tianfu Cup hacking contest.

Tianfu Cup organizers offered up to $60,000 for Reader exploits that achieved remote code execution with a sandbox escape. Researchers earned a total of $1.9 million at the event that took place in October.

A source told SecurityWeek that the team representing Chinese cybersecurity company Cyber Kunlun earned $60,000 for its exploit, while the other teams earned $30,000 each, as their exploits did not include a sandbox escape. The exploit worth $60,000 included a Windows kernel bug that Microsoft has yet to patch.

The remaining flaws patched in Acrobat and Reader can be exploited for privilege escalation, bypassing security features, causing a DoS condition, and obtaining data from memory.

In addition, Adobe patched two issues in Illustrator, six flaws in Bridge, four vulnerabilities in InCopy, and three vulnerabilities in InDesign.

Adobe says it’s not aware of any malicious attacks targeting these vulnerabilities.

Related: Chrome 95 Update Patches Exploited Zero-Days, Flaws Disclosed at Tianfu Cup

Related: Apple Patches Vulnerabilities That Earned Hackers $600,000 at Chinese Contest

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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