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Chrome Flaw Allowed Hackers to Run Malicious Code via PDFs

A serious Chrome vulnerability patched recently by Google allowed hackers to execute arbitrary code on a system by using malicious PDF documents.

The vulnerability, discovered by Aleksandar Nikolic of Cisco Talos, is a heap buffer overflow (CVE-2016-1681) affecting PDFium, the default PDF reader in the Chrome web browser.

The problem exists in the jpeg2000 image parser library (OpenJPEG) used by PDFium. According to researchers, OpenJPEG prevents the heap overflow in standalone builds, but the bug affects Chrome due to a special build process.

Experts say an attacker could have exploited the vulnerability for arbitrary code execution by embedding a specially crafted jpeg2000 image in a PDF document.

“The most effective attack vector is for the threat actor to place a malicious PDF file on a website and and then redirect victims to the website using either phishing emails or even malvertising,” Cisco said in a blog post.

Cisco Talos reported the issue on May 19 and Google...(continued)

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