Should I remove Adobe Reader?

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Quoting Graham Cluley’s article at https://grahamcluley.com/2015/10/kudos-adobe/

Should you remove Adobe Flash from your computers? In many cases that would seem sensible to me. Should you remove Adobe Shockwave from your PCs? Undoubtedly.

So, should I also stop using Adobe Reader?

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The reason you ask, of course, is that we do see malware attacks exploiting vulnerabilities in Adobe’s PDF reader.

So, you could choose to stop using Adobe’s PDF reader and remove it from your computer. You certainly won’t have to worry about those particular vulnerabilities anymore.

Of course, that leaves you with the problem of how to read PDF files. :)

Some operating systems have PDF reading abilities built into them, and in addition there are third-party PDF reading tools out there.

Of course, it’s perfectly possible that these alternative PDF readers may also have flaws and vulnerabilities – albeit they are probably less likely to be targeted quite so often because fewer people use them.

In summary, whatever PDF reader you use, make sure that you keep it updated with the latest patches.

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The answer is, “It depends…” As Graham’s answer correctly states, there are plenty of other PDF reading apps, and they’re probably not as big a target as Adobe’s Reader, which makes them (statistically) somewhat safer. But not all PDF readers have the same features as Adobe’s Reader.

For example, I use Adobe Acrobat Pro to create PDF content that has some very specific features that are not supported in my everyday PDF reader (OS X’s Preview app). Users who attempt to view such content in Preview will find that it doesn’t display correctly, or other features are missing.

Nevertheless, in my experience, most PDF content is pretty straightforward, and just about any PDF reader will get the job done. Unless the PDFs you read include the specific features that require Adobe’s Reader, you don’t need it.

For the record, though, I’ve never had a problem with Reader.app, but I always keep it patched. For that reason, I have no qualms about keeping it on my computer.

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