Apache PDFBox Page Tree Parsing Denial of Service Vulnerability [CVE-2018-11797]

CVE Number – CVE-2018-11797

A vulnerability in the Apache PDFBox parser could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to cause a denial of service (DoS) condition on a targeted system.

The vulnerability is due to improper processing of PDF files by the affected software when parsing the page tree. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by persuading a user to open a PDF file that submits malicious input to the targeted system. A successful exploit could trigger an infinite loop condition, which could lead to an out-of-memory exception and result in a DoS condition.

The Apache Software Foundation confirmed the vulnerability and released software updates.

Analysis
  • To exploit this vulnerability, the attacker must have local access to the targeted system or use misleading language or instructions to convince a user to open a PDF file that submits malicious input to the system.
Safeguards
  • Administrators are advised to apply the appropriate updates.

    Administrators are advised to allow only trusted users to have network access.

    Users are advised not to open email messages from suspicious or unrecognized sources. If users cannot verify that links or attachments included in email messages are safe, they are advised not to open them.

    Users are advised not to visit websites or follow links that have suspicious characteristics or cannot be verified as safe.

    Administrators are advised to use an unprivileged account when browsing the Internet.

    Administrators are advised to monitor critical systems.

Vendor Announcements
Fixed Software
  • The Apache Software Foundation released software updates at the following link: PDFBox 1.8.16 and 2.0.12



Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He also has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.

Duncan Newell

Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He also has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.

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