Adobe has released an upgrade to its Reader software that incorporates sandboxing to defend against malware in PDF files.
The software incorporates sandboxing technology so that PDFs are limited in the amount of the operating system they can access.
If an application in the document tries to write to the computer's folder, access is denied and the user alerted. Policies to allow full access for certain trusted files can be configured.
"While sandboxing is not a security silver bullet, it provides a strong additional level of defence against attacks," said Brad Arkin, Adobe's director of product security and privacy, in a blog post.
"Even if exploitable security vulnerabilities are found by an attacker, Adobe Reader Protected Mode will help prevent the attacker from writing files or installing malware on potential victims' computers."
The sandbox function is similar to that used by Microsoft's Office 2010 Protected Viewing mode and Google's Chrome browser. Arkin thanked both companies for their help in developing the technology.
Adobe Reader X for Windows is compatible with Windows 7, Vista, XP, Server 2008 and Server 2003, and is available for the Mac and Android platforms but without the sandboxing features.
Adobe has been beset with security problems lately, and has had to issue many unscheduled patches to cope with attacks in the wild.
The company blames the increase in attacks on its huge user base and the increasing preference of hackers to use third-party software that may be patched less frequently.
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