A well-kept secret among Internet users has been that Adobe PDF documents are frequently used by hackers as vehicles to download sensitive user information. Unfortunately, criminals have been well aware of the vulnerabilities availed by the Adobe software and have used them to rip off countless unsuspecting computer users who thought that Adobe software was safe.
The Adobe flaws have now been found to encompass more than just its PDF products: Adobe Flash content embedded inside Microsoft Office data files like Word documents and Excel spreadsheets have been distributed to online users. When opened, these files give hackers direct access to a computer via an online tunnel without users’ knowledge.
Without much fanfare, the vulnerability of Adobe Flash content was patched on the 15th of the month, but the PDF vulnerability continued to be wide open for hackers to exploit through the 21st.
Acrobat Reader and Acrobat Professional now stand at the 10.0.3 revision level, according to a report on the matter published by MSNBC.
Adobe programs are prized targets of cyberwarriors because almost every computer uses them. Flash is a popular content-type and PDF formatted files are ubiquitous. From user guides to academic assignments, documents of virtually all types are encapsulated in the popular format to make them easy to access and read.
When a file is distributed as a PDF, the document will look the same, regardless of what computer operating system is used to open it.
Aside from its release of patches to repair the programs, Adobe has been mum about the nature of the bugs and how widespread damages stemming from those bugs have been. The reluctance of the company to be forthcoming about the matter is understandable, seeing how that it stands to lose a lot of trust among the public for distributing software that left virtually every computer user open to data and identity theft.
The integrity of software programs has long been an issue, with Microsoft products such as its Windows operating systems being at the forefront of the security exploit scene. Windows users are routinely treated to software updates that close different bugs that allow hackers to gain unauthorized control over users’ systems.
Hacking attacks have become increasingly organized over recent years with some high profile problems being exploited by foreign governments. For example, China has in recent months re-routed US Government network traffic through its routers, presumably gleaning sensitive national security information as a result. Other Chinese hack attacks have targeted the US Department of Defense and large American corporations.