Poppler PDFDoc::setup Denial of Service Vulnerability [CVE-2018-20662]

CVE Number – CVE-2018-20662

A vulnerability in the PDFDoc::setup function of Poppler 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 PDFDoc::setup function, as defined in the PDFDoc.cc source code file of the affected software. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by persuading a user to access a PDF file that submits malicious input to the targeted system. An exploit could trigger a SIGABRT signal in the Object.h code which causes the affected software to crash, resulting in a DoS. 

Proof-of-concept (PoC) code that demonstrates an exploit of this vulnerability is publicly available. 

Poppler has confirmed the vulnerability and released software updates.


  • To exploit this vulnerability, the attacker may use misleading language or instructions to persuade a user to access a file that submits malicious input to the targeted system.


  • 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

  • Poppler has released an issue report at the following link: Issue #706

Fixed Software

Duncan Newell

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

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