Adobe implements better security to its PDF reader
November 21, 2010
Adobe said today it has finally implemented new security measures to its Windows versions of its popular PDF document reader that's designed to lock down one of the world's most exploited applications by would be hackers.
Adobe's so-called PDF sandbox isolates its Reader from sensitive Windows operations, such as the changing of operating system registry settings and the modification of sensitive files. The new feature, dubbed Protected Mode, is intended to lessen the damage malicious hackers can cause when they exploit buffer overflows and similar security holes that inevitably arise in any piece of user software.
“While sandboxing certainly isn't a "security silver Lining", it sure provides a strong additional layer of defense against specific user attacks,” said Brad Arkin, Adobe's senior director of product security and privacy. Even if exploitable security vulnerabilities are found by a hacker, Adobe Reader Protected Mode will help prevent him from writing files, deleting them or installing malware or malicious software on potential victims’ computers.”
Adding the new security technology to an existing piece of software such as PDF Reader is a monumental task, developers have said. To make Protected Mode as effective as possible, Arkin said Adobe engineers worked with counterparts at Google and Microsoft, which have fortified the Chrome Browser and Office and Internet Explorer respectively with a similar feature.
Mozilla Firefox has yet to add sandboxing, and has provided no timetable for doing so, but some in the IT industry say it should be done and completed by March or April 2011.
Adobe's PDF Reader's automatic updating feature has yet to alert us to the availability of new versions, which will be called Reader X, and it's not clear when that might happen.
However, those who want to download it immediately may do so on Adobe's website.
And while Protected Mode is available only for Windows, Reader X is also available for Mac OS X and Android as well.
Adobe's PDF Reader is a very popular document application that is used widely, especially in the business segment. The fact that the company has worked diligently with such comapnies as Google, Microsoft and a few others indicate that Adobe is serious abour Reader and wants it to continue being the leader in its field.
Source: Adobe Software.
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