Abusing Adobe Reader’s JavaScript APIs presented at Defcon 2015

by Brian Gorenc, Jasiel Spelman, Abdul-aziz Hariri,

Summary : Adobe Reader’s JavaScript APIs offer a rich set of functionality for document authors. These APIs allow for processing forms, controlling multimedia events, and communicating with databases, all of which provide end-users the ability to create complex documents. This complexity provides a perfect avenue for attackers to take advantage of weaknesses that exist in Reader’s JavaScript APIs.
In this talk, we will provide insight into both the documented and undocumented APIs available in Adobe Reader. Several code auditing techniques will be shared to aid in vulnerability discovery, along with numerous proofs-of-concept which highlight real-world examples. We’ll detail out how to chain several unique issues to obtain execution in a privileged context. Finally, we’ll describe how to construct an exploit that achieves remote code execution without the need for memory corruption.
Brian Gorenc is the manager of Vulnerability Research with Hewlett-Packard Security Research (HPSR). In this role, Gorenc leads the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) program, which is the world’s largest vendor-agnostic bug bounty program. His focus includes analyzing and performing root-cause analysis on hundreds of zero-day vulnerabilities submitted by ZDI researchers from around the world. The ZDI works to expose and remediate weaknesses in the world’s most popular software. Brian is also responsible for organizing the ever-popular Pwn2Own hacking competitions.
Prior to joining HP, Gorenc worked for Lockheed Martin on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. In this role, he led the development effort on the Information Assurance (IA) products in the JSF’s mission planning environment.