Mozilla acknowledged that the viewer was not protected by any special defense, as are malformed PDFs in Adobe's Reader -- at least on Windows, which provides a full-fledged sandbox -- or in Google's Chrome, which sandboxes each tab, isolating a rigged PDF from the rest of the browser.
"PDF.js runs with the same permissions as any Web page though, so there would have to be a security problem with Firefox itself," tweeted the PDF.js team last month in reply to a question about potential security issues with the viewer.
But Storms noted the flip side. "So if this PDF process, as part of Firefox, has a hole, the attacker in theory then owns the browser instead of just the plug-in process," Storms said.
Mozilla also patched 13 vulnerabilities, 10 critical, one marked "high" and two pegged "moderate," in Firefox today.
Nearly half of the bugs were reported by Abhishek Arya, better known as "Inferno," of the Chrome security team, Mozilla said in one of today's advisories, making this the third Firefox upgrade running where Arya has accounted for a major part of the reported vulnerabilities.
Three of the six reported by Arya were use-after-free vulnerabilities, a type of memory management bug that Google's security engineers have rooted out in droves from Chrome and, increasingly, other browsers.
Windows, Mac and Linux editions of Firefox 19 can be downloaded manually from Mozilla's site. Already-installed copies will upgrade automatically.
The next version of Firefox is scheduled to ship April 2, 2013.
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