Adobe Reader gets protected

Adobe Reader is to get a new Protected Mode with its next major update, which the company hopes will cut down on the number of malicious attacks.

The PDF-viewing software has hit the headlines on what almost seems like a daily basis of late, with hackers exposing gaping holes in the ubiquitous application's security with alarming regularity.

Unfortunately for Adobe, that very unbiquity has been Reader's downfall. The very fact that the vast majority of computers contain a copy of the Adobe offering in one form or another is a heady temptation to undesirable elements who would like access to your digital belongings.

It seems that the folks at Adobe are tired of being the hacker's favourite point of entry and have said 'enough is enough'.

Adobe's Brad Arkin has announced that the next major version release of Adobe Reader will include Protected Mode, a sandboxing technology based on Microsoft’s Practical Windows Sandboxing technique.

"It is similar to the Google Chrome sandbox and Microsoft Office 2010 Protected Viewing Mode," says Arkin. "Adobe has been working closely with David LeBlanc, Dan Jump and other members of the Microsoft Office security team, Nicolas Sylvain and the Chrome team at Google, as well as third-party consultancies and other external stakeholders to leverage their sandboxing knowledge and experience."

With the new mode enabled - it will be on by default - all operations needed to display a PDF file will be run in a confined environment, or sandbox.

Any processess which require access to external folders or applications are funnelled through a 'broker process' which has a strict set of rules about what is and isn't allowed.

Protected Mode will help prevent the attacker from writing files, changing registry keys or installing malware on potential victims’ computers.

No release date has been set as yet, but we'll keep you posted.