Adobe Reader X Really Is Safer, Sophos Finds
Article by George Norman
On 04 Feb 2011
One of the cool new features in Adobe Reader X, the latest Adobe Reader version, is Adobe Protected Mode, a sandboxing technology based on Microsoft’s Practical Windows Sandboxing Technique that provides extra security by running all operations required to display PDF files in a sandbox – which is a very restricted and confined environment.

What does that mean? It means that when you receive a malicious PDF file, the sandboxing technology will protect you. Paul Baccas, Senior Technology with Sophos, company that company that specializes in providing antivirus, anti-spam, spyware removal software, network and internet security, recently found out just how secure Adobe Reader X is.


As Baccas explained, there’s a new malicious spam campaign making the rounds online. “A new malicious spam campaign underlines the security benefits of upgrading to the latest version of Adobe Reader - Adobe Reader X,” said Baccas. “SophosLabs are currently seeing reports of a low-level attack, spamming out malicious PDF attachments.”

The spam email typically looks like this:
Hello, [recipient email]
It was scanned and sent to you using Xerox WorkCentre Pro.
Please open the attached document.
Sent by: Guest
Number of Images: 1 Attachment
File Type: PDF.
WorkCentre Pro Location: Machine location not set

The attached PDF file is malicious. If you download the attachment with Adobe Reader 8, says Baccas, malicious code is downloaded and run. The PDF file displays nothing, but in the background it attempts to download malicious code from a Colombian domain. If you open the PDF file with Adobe Reader X, no attack will occur. You will only see an error message. Your computer is safe.

If you would like to get Adobe Reader X, you can get it straight from Adobe at

In Sophos-related news, Paul Ducklin, Head of Technology with Sophos, recently talked about the dangers of money mule scams. You can read more about this topic here on FindMySoft or you can check out Ducklin’s post here.

Tags: Sophos, Adobe, Adobe Reader X, Spam, Security
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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