Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Risks of and Alternatives to Using Adobe Reader

A recent report by the AV-Test Institute, found that 66 percent of affected Windows systems are victims of malware that took advantage of exploits found in Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, and Java.
In a ten plus year study AV-Test uncovered that one exploit for Adobe Reader alone had nearly 37,000 recorded variants that exploited user machines with high levels of precision; users with outdated or known versions of susceptibility stood no virtual chance without some form of protection software.
(Credit: AV-Test Institute)
The biggest offender? Java -- with a whopping 82,000 attacks spread across different versions, making it one of the most vulnerable magnets for exploit.
Though the race to secure Java remains ongoing, users can at least take better precautions to protect themselves from PDF exploits by using the following alternatives to Adobe Reader:

1. PDF-XChange Viewer

PDF-XChange Viewer is a free, lightweight alternative to Adobe Reader that lets you modify and annotate PDF files. It also comes with a built-in PDF Converter.

2. Sumatra PDF

Sumatra PDF is another free alternative PDF reader, known for its minimal take on viewing PDFs without the bloat. Ease of use takes priority in this open-source viewer for Windows.

3. Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is not only a spectacular browser, but also if you want to do away entirely with having a separate viewing client, then Firefox might be an attractive option. Mozilla's flagship browser comes with native support for PDF files.

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