Acrobat Reader DC versions versions 2021.001.20155 (and earlier), 2020.001.30025 (and earlier) and 2017.011.30196 (and earlier) are affected by an Use After Free vulnerability. An unauthenticated attacker could leverage this vulnerability to achieve arbitrary code execution in the context of the current user. Exploitation of this issue requires user interaction in that a victim must open a malicious file.
Referencing memory after it has been freed can cause a program to crash, use unexpected values, or execute code.
The use of previously-freed memory can have any number of adverse consequences, ranging from the corruption of valid data to the execution of arbitrary code, depending on the instantiation and timing of the flaw. The simplest way data corruption may occur involves the system’s reuse of the freed memory. Use-after-free errors have two common and sometimes overlapping causes:
In this scenario, the memory in question is allocated to another pointer validly at some point after it has been freed. The original pointer to the freed memory is used again and points to somewhere within the new allocation. As the data is changed, it corrupts the validly used memory; this induces undefined behavior in the process. If the newly allocated data chances to hold a class, in C++ for example, various function pointers may be scattered within the heap data. If one of these function pointers is overwritten with an address to valid shellcode, execution of arbitrary code can be achieved.