Adobe patches Acrobat and Reader, Mozilla debuts Firefox built-in PDF viewer

Adobe has pushed out the announced update for Acrobat and Reader that patches the two vulnerabilities that were recently exploited in attacks in the wild.

But, the popularity of these Adobe products, the amount of security bugs they apparently contain, and Adobe’s consistently slow release of patches make them the perfect entry point for cyber attackers, so it’s no wonder that security experts are advising and users considering using alternative PDF viewers.

Google has solved part of the problem for users by building in a PDF viewer into Chrome and turning it on by default. Apple’s Safari has done the same for Safari for Mac.

And now Mozilla has introduced one in its latest stable version of Firefox (v19.0).

As Bill Walker, Engineering Manager and Brendan Dahl, Software Engineer at Mozilla explained in January, Mozilla was looking for an alternative to a number of proprietary plugins for viewing PDF, and has come up with its own: PDF.js.

PDF.js is, unsurprisingly, open source, and is the result of an experiment with the HTML5 technology and JavaScript. Mozilla’s developers have proved that both these elements are powerful enough to create applications, and the new viewer, they say, is both secure, capable on running on many platforms and browsers, and loads and renders PDFs quickly.

For regular users, this kind of solution should be more than enough, and Adobe’s Reader could become a thing of the past.

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