A recent report by the AV-Test Institute found that exploits in Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, and Java account for 66 percent of Windows systems affected by malware.
In a 10-year-plus study, AV-Test uncovered that one exploit for Adobe Reader had nearly 37,000 recorded variants that exploited user machines with high levels of precision. Users with outdated software or versions known to be susceptible stood virtually no chance of avoiding malware damage without some form of protective software.
The biggest offender? Java, which had a whopping 82,000 attacks spread across different versions, making it one of the most vulnerable magnets for exploitation.
The race to secure Java is ongoing. In the meantime, users can take better precautions to protect themselves from PDF exploits by using the following alternatives to Adobe Reader:
PDF-XChange Viewer is a free, lightweight app that lets you modify, annotate, and convert PDF files.
2. Sumatra PDF
Sumatra PDF is a free and bloat-free PDF reader, known for its minimalist take on viewing PDFs. Ease of use takes priority in this open-source viewer for Windows.
Don't want a separate viewing client? Firefox is not only a spectacular browser, but it also comes with native support for PDF files.