Why Did Your Momma Tell You To Never Interact With Strange PDFs On The Web?

Even though most people think about a normal web page when they think about the internet, there are all types of little technologies that make up the total web experience. There are technologies such as Flash that allow you to look at animated pictures wile you surf the web and there is Javascript which help make a web page become more interactive when you use it. But one of the main technologies that go along with the web is known as PDF.

PDF is also known as Portable Document Format and it allows you to view a web site in the same richness that you would while reading a magazine. PDF’s are very convenient and for a lot of businesses, a life saver when it comes to transporting documents.

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The Dark Side Of PDFs

But there is a dark side when it comes to the world of the PDF. There have been many exploits found that can take advantage of them.

Over the years, there has been a lot of research done in the world of PDF’s. Since they are so ubiquitous on the web, black hat hackers were starting to use them to pass infections to a person’s computer and, with the nature of a PDF, it is very easy to do.

The first reason why it is so easy to run a piece of malware through a PDF file is that PDF’s are able to run scripts inside of them. If you have a piece of software that is able to be scripted, then that means there is a soft point somewhere in the program.

Another reason why PDF’s are able to be exploited is because most of the time your browser is defaulted to open them when you click on the links. This means that when you come across a PDF link while you are surfing the web, if you click it, it will then automatically open inside of your browser instead of being saved to your computer. This can make them very dangerous.

The way to stop them from infecting you is to set your browser to automatically download those particular types of files when you run across them and, after you download them, you can use the antivirus that is on the system to scan them to see if there is any infection that you have to worry about.

PDF files are very useful to anyone who uses the computer a lot but you have to remember that even though they may be useful, they are still files that you might have to worry about. But your worry can be put at ease as long as you do the proper thing and make sure that they have been scanned with an updated antivirus program.

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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