Cyber criminals often make use of ‘web attack toolkits’ – a collection of programmed files which are hosted on malicious websites – to try and infect computers or take advantage of known software vulnerabilities.
You may end up on one of these websites by mistake due to a website redirection, bad search engine link or after clicking on a link in a spam email, instant message or social networking status update. You may also open a malicious PDF file attached to a genuine looking email.
These toolkits and malicious files are designed to look for weaknesses in your computer system or software and to install new programmes that can monitor your login details on websites you visit.
Update to stay safe
Updating your system and software is key to defeating these kind of attacks and Adobe Reader is known to be a particularly popular target for cyber criminals.
Adobe Reader is installed as a browser plug-in or stand alone piece of software on hundreds of millions of computers worldwide and is used to open and read PDF files. This popularity makes it a great way to try and attack computer owners who don’t keep their version of the software (or their web browser) up to date.
Fortunately, Adobe are constantly working on security updates for the program and make the free Reader product available online so you can download and instal the latest software direct from their site:
To manually check for updates to Adobe Reader
Open up the Adobe Reader program and click on Help in the top menu – then click on ‘Updates’ or ‘Check for Updates’.
You will then see any available updates and can select and add them before starting the update process. You may need to restart your computer to make the changes take effect.
If you want to know how PDFs can be used to attack your computer watch this video from Sophos below: