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Make Adobe Reader and Acrobat Safer to Use

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Adobe Reader comes pre-installed on most computers. And even if you never use it, just the mere presence can leave your computer at risk. Vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat are the number one most common infection vector, bar none. Making sure you stay up-to-date with the latest version of Adobe products is imperative, but not foolproof. To use Adobe Reader (and Acrobat) safely, you need to make a few tweaks to its settings. Following are the must-make security changes you need to make in Adobe Reader and/or Adobe Acrobat.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Open Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.
  2. If you use Windows, click Edit and choose Preferences.
    If you use a Mac, click Adobe Reader (or Adobe Acrobat) and select Preferences.
  3. Prevent PDF files from launching programs:
    From the left pane, select Trust Manager;
    Uncheck the box Allow opening of non-PDF file attachments with external applications.
  4. Prevent javascript from running in PDF files:
    From the left pane, select Javascript;
    Uncheck the box Enable Javascript.
  5. Prevent PDF files from opening automatically on the Web:
    From the left pane, select Internet;
    Uncheck the box Display PDF in browser.
  6. Click OK and close the program.
  7. Prevent SWF (Flash) exploits in PDF files
    A vulnerability in Adobe Flash feeds over into Adobe Reader and Acrobat. Follow the links below to prevent Flash exploits in Adobe-rendered PDF files:
    Instructions for Windows
    Instructions for Mac and Unix
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