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Windows 7: Simple viewer from MIcrosoft would protect users.......

03 May 2010   #1
JMH

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit. SP1.
 
 
Simple viewer from MIcrosoft would protect users.......

Quote:
Windows needs a built-in PDF viewer, argues researcher.

Simple viewer from MIcrosoft would protect users from some Adobe Reader exploits

Microsoft should add a basic PDF viewer to Windows to help protect users from the spike in attacks exploiting bugs in Adobe's Reader, a security researcher said Friday.

"Apple does this with its Preview [application], and Microsoft should, too," said Sean Sullivan, a security advisor with Finnish antivirus vendor F-Secure's North American operation. "I just want to view and read PDFs. I don't want to listen to them or watch them or launch executables from them or run JavaScript," Sullivan added, referring to several advanced features that Abobe's own PDF viewer, the for-free Reader, supports.

Some of those features, including Reader's support of JavaScript and the PDF specification's support for the /Launch function, have been exploited by attackers in increasing numbers since 2008. According to tallies by antivirus vendor McAfee, PDF exploits were up more than eight times in 2009 compared to the year before, a trend that has continued into 2010.

And the /Launch function, which allows PDF documents to run embedded executable files, is currently being exploited by attackers in a widespread malicious message campaign that tries to trick users into opening a rigged PDF.

Sullivan spelled out his case in more detail in a post to the F-Secure security blog on Thursday. "Your customers are tired of the exploits and the complications that so many of today's PDF readers include," said Sullivan in a "Dear Microsoft" missive.

"They should write a really simplified viewer, one that just previews PDF," Sullivan added Friday in a telephone interview. "They don't even need to build it into the operating system. They can make it an optional download like they did the 'Save As PDF' add-in for Office."

Although Microsoft intended to add support for saving documents in the PDF file format to Office 2007, it was forced to backtrack when Adobe balked. Instead, Microsoft built a "Save as PDF" add-on that it made available free of charge. After Adobe submitted the PDF/A specification to the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) in 2008, Microsoft added "Save As PDF" support to its suite with the release of Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2) a year ago. The same feature is available in Office 2010.
Source -
Windows needs a built-in PDF viewer, argues researcher - Computerworld

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 May 2010   #2

Windows XP - Now Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit).
 
 

I wonder if using Firefox -- as I do -- negates some of the potential pdf attacks as FF does/can display the document in a browser window. Or is that one and the same thing...anyhow, thanks for the link JMH.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 May 2010   #3

Windows 7
 
 

FWIW, I got rid of Adobe long ago for a variety of reasons and have replaced it with the free and much faster Foxit pdf reader. Works fine with my default browser Firefox or independently.

No tool is entirely safe from exploit attempts, but many more bad guys exploit big players like Adobe and Microsoft than the smaller players like Foxit.
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 Simple viewer from MIcrosoft would protect users.......





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