Vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader have been a common target for hackers and malware distributors attempting to gain access to your computer. On November 18th, Adobe has released Adobe Reader X, which incorporates sandbox technology to protect your computer from unknown vulnerabilities that may be discovered in the future.This new sandbox feature is named Adobe Reader Protected Mode and it enabled by default when you install the new Adobe Reader X. When enabled, all operations that Adobe Reader uses to display a PDF document will be run in a restricted and confined environment called a Sandbox. It is important to note, that sandboxing an application is more secure when that application is run under Windows Vista or Windows 7 as they support integrity levels.This sandbox will help to prevent future vulnerabilities that may allow malicious PDF documents that are opened by Adobe Reader to access the configuration and file structure of your computer. That means that the malicious PDF will no longer be able to install malware, change registry settings, or create files on your computer.Unfortunately, when you install Adobe Reader X it will reset any configuration settings that you used in the past to secure Reader. Therefore, after installing Adobe Reader X make sure you do the following steps:
Disable Windows Trusted Sites - When the program is open, click on Edit and select Preferences. Then click on the Security (Enhanced) category and uncheck Automatically trust sites from my Win OS security zones.
Secure Trust Manager - When the program is open, click on Edit and select Preferences. Then click on the Trust Manager category and uncheck Allow opening of non-PDF file attachments with external applications.
As long as you secure Reader again after installing Reader X, it is suggested that all users uninstall their previous versions of this program and immediately install Adobe Reader X. Not only will this protect you from any current vulnerabilities, but will also protect you from any future ones. That is until the malware developers learn how to bypass this new feature. For now, though, if you plan on using Adobe Reader, then there is no excuse not to install Adobe Reader X.Download links for both the Windows and Mac version of Adobe Reader X can be found below.