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Reader X has arrived

20 November 2010 2,931 views No Comment

Adobe has gotten a lot of (well deserved) grief for the serial serious security issues affecting their ubiquitous Flash and Acrobat platforms. However, this new release could go a long way toward alleviating some of the numerous problems tied to the popular .pdf reading and markup app.

Adobe has shipped Adobe Reader X (feature page) and there’s a lot riding on it. That is, the Acrobat platform has serious security shortcomings, becoming a preferred attack vector for hackers.

Although the proof will lie in the pudding, Adobe has made Reader X a sandboxed application, which runs with minimal access to the operating system. Thereupon, even if a virus — Is there any Mac-specific pdf-borne malware out there? — were to take over the app, in theory it would get no further because of Reader X’s limited OS-level privileges.

• Protected (sandbox) Mode — Helps safeguard your computer software and data from malicious code

• Enhanced commenting tools — Make notes and share feedback with others by marking up documents using the sticky note and highlighter tools

• Simplified UI — View more information at one time or use reading mode for just text

• Improved search — Find and retrieve any document within a document quickly by word, content, annotation, bookmark, form field or metadata

• Open PDF portfolios — Open and view portfolio contents, which can include other .pdfs, drawings, email, spreadsheets, etc.

• Electronic form submission — Fill, save, sign and submit forms

• Support for the latest end-user level Flash interactivity

See also: How to: Top 10, best free ways to secure your Mac

Is sandboxing enough? Can Flash, a bag full of hurt all by itself, be sandboxed therein? These are tough questions and, again, the success or failure of Reader X will be borne out by how it performs in the wild.

The good news to date for Adobe is that no other format has appeared to challenge .pdf’s dominance. Further, .pdf is becoming established on the new, rapidly evolving mobile platforms…

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