How PDFs can infect your computer via Adobe Reader vulnerabilities [VIDEO]

PDF malwareSomething as simple as opening a PDF file can infect your computer, and potentially allow malicious hackers to gain access to your corporate network.

Cybercriminals create boobytrapped PDF files, exploiting vulnerabilities in PDF reading software such as Adobe Reader, and either spam them out to unsuspecting victims or plant them on websites where they lie in wait for visitors.

Just the simple act of opening the PDF file can exploit a vulnerability to automatically download malicious code from the internet, and display a decoy PDF file to trick you into believing that nothing wrong has happened.

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Check out the following video by Sophos’s Chet Wisniewski, showing how a PDF can help hackers pwn your PC:

Hopefully videos like this will help remind people of the importance of keeping applications like Adobe Reader updated with the latest security patches, and not just their operating system.


Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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