Malicious .PDF files outpace Flash exploits to become most frequently encountered exploit type on the web

Adobe makes some of the most frequently used digital technologies, but there is a troubling trend whereby attackers seem to exploit their products on a regular basis. According to the recent Annual Global Threat Report 2009, put out by ScanSafe/Cisco, the biggest threat in that category is now malicious .PDF files that take advantage of vulnerabilities in Acrobat and Reader software. This makes sense, because while many computer users know to be wary of active web technologies like Flash, most think .PDF files are safe. Attackers have realized this and malicious .PDFs grew to comprise 80% of web-encountered exploits for the 4th quarter of 2009.

The 28-page analysis makes for some interesting reading. Ironically enough, it’s available as a .PDF at

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