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Use Adobe Acrobat Safely

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 by | Filed Under: Security Help

Can I use “Adobe Reader” and “Adobe Acrobat” safely?

Adobe Systems Inc. recently acknowledged that all versions of its popular PDF software, including editions for Windows, Mac and Linux, contain at least one, or possibly two, critical vulnerabilities. Knowing this, is there a way one can use their Adobe PDF reader safely?

Yes. Fortunately, there is an easy way to stay safe until Adobe releases a software patch.

Since many people do not update or install security patches as often as recommended, this article will provide a step by step procedure to disable JavaScript in Adobe Reader. Don’t worry it is not difficult. Only six Mouse clicks and you are done!

First. Find and open “Adobe Reader” (all versions through 9.1) on your computer.
(On the Mac, Preferences is under the “Adobe Reader” or “Adobe Acrobat” menus.)

1. Left click on “Start
2. Move the cursor over “All Programs”, in the menu window that opens
3. Left click on “Adobe Reader” (Figure 1)

Figure 1

4. On the “Adobe Reader” screen Left click on “Edit
5. In the menu window that opens Left click on “Preferences” (Figure 2)

Figure 2

On the “Preferences” screen uncheck “Enable Acrobat JavaScript” (Figure 3)

Figure 3

The preferences screen should now look like Figure 4

7. Left click on the “OK” Button

Figure 4

Now you have a simple procedure to use to turn off JavaScript in Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat. After Adobe releases a software patch please download and install it. Then, if you wish, you can turn JavaScript back on.

Note: There are several free PDF readers that are not vulnerable to JavaScript flaws.

Here are the Web addresses for two of them.…-10313206.html…wer-58029.html

~Boyd Lutz

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