One year ago, we received a contract as a PDF file. It was digitally signed. We looked at the document - ignoring the "certificate is not trusted" warning shown by the viewer - and asked ourselfs:
"How do PDF signatures exactly work?"
We are quite familiar with the security of message formats like XML and JSON. But nobody had an idea, how PDFs really work. So we started our research journey.
Today, we are happy to announce our results. In this blog post, we give an overview how PDF signatures work and on top, we reveal three novel attack classes for spoofing a digitally signed PDF document. We present our evaluation of 22 different PDF viewers and show 21 of them to be vulnerable. We additionally evaluated 8 online validation services and found 6 to be vulnerable.
In cooperation with the BSI-CERT, we contacted all vendors, provided proof-of-concept exploits, and helped them to fix the issues and three generic CVEs for each attack class were issued: CVE-2018-16042, CVE-2018-18688, CVE-2018-18689.
Recent research on web security and related topics. Provided and maintained by members and friends of the Chair for Network and Data Security at the Ruhr University Bochum, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Horst Görtz Institute for IT-Security.
Sunday, February 24, 2019
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