The Dangers That Are Involved With PDF Files

There are a lot of file type that you get used to using when you are on your computer. And depending on what you do, you start to become very acquainted with certain file types. For example if you are someone who is in the financial business like an accountant or an investor then you are probably used to .xls files. That file type is the one that is used in programs like Excel and Excel compatible software. You see it all of the time and you probably recognize the icon for it as well as the extension. If you are a student or someone who is a writer then there is a good chance that you see the .doc file type all of the time. This is the file type that is associated with the Microsoft Word program and Word is one of the more popular programs of all time.


But a file type that everyone uses a lot is the PDf format. The letters PDF stands for Portable Document format. It is a format that was created by Adobe that allowed you to be able to create magazine like documents and put them on the web. Well you could actually use the documents on the web or on your computer by themselves. The reason why the PDF format became so popular is because in the early days of the web there was not much you could do with the HTML format. While you could get information from the HTML format it was a far cry from what you would see in the magazines and books at the time. Adobe wanted to change that so they made it so that you could bring magazine sensibilities to the web. And for a long time PDF files were a popular format to do that. But overtime the web became better when it came to styling due to advances in the CSS format and people found that the PDF was not needed as much as it was before. Now instead of being embedded in web pages all of the time, you see it used more for eBooks and other formats of that type.

PDF files are still a useful format but there is one problem with them that has still not been fully been overcome. And that problem is that black hat hackers have found that they could easily corrupt PDF files so that they could harm the end users computer. The PDF format is easy, for people who know what they are doing, to disrupt and it is also has a bunch of built in security flaws. One of the biggest flaws is that it is able run JavaScript inside of the PDF shell. And not only that, but you are also able to click on outside links in a PDF file as well. These are two flaws that can be really dangerous when someone is trying to do real harm.

There have been plenty of PDF attacks in recent years. While the PDF format is not used as much on the web anymore it is still used a lot when it comes to eBooks. It is probably used now more than ever before in its short history. Attackers know this and that is why there are so many black hat hackers that specialize in PDF only attacks. And they have white hat hackers who do the same in their quest to make the PDF format truly safe.

PDF files can be dangerous so make sure you are careful with where you get them from.

photo: midiman

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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