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Hackers use PDFs to take over PCs

Hackers use PDFs to take over PCs

Want to be more secure online? Stop using Adobe Acrobat reader to open PDF documents in your browser. That’s what F-Secure virus hunter Mikko Hypponen, the closest thing to a rock star holding court at the RSA security conference, is advocating.

Ditching Adobe Acrobat Reader will greatly reduce your chances of getting your PC infected by a drive-by download, says the pony-tailed Hypponen, who was recently profiled in Vanity Fair. “That’s my advice,” says Hypponen, “I don’t expect a Christmas card from Adobe.”

The bad guys are increasingly using security flaws in Adobe Acrobat Reader browser plugins to open a backdoor to your hard drive. These instructions get implanted when you visit a tainted website. The next time you use Adobe Reader, a very tiny poisoned PDF from the bad guys also opens and installs the backdoor that may allow them to take over your computer.


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