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Adobe Releases Acrobat Reader X with "Protected Mode"

Adobe this week announced the availability of its new Acrobat X Family of products, including Adobe Reader X as well as Acrobat X Suite, Acrobat X Pro, and Acrobat X Standard. In the new release, Adobe added an entirely new security strategy with a new “Protected Mode” for Acrobat Reader.Adobe Acrobat Protected Mode Security

Protected Mode utilizes "sandboxing" technology based on Microsoft’s “Practical Windows Sandboxing technique ” – a method of isolating the application from the rest of the operating system and tightly controlling its resources. Protected Mode will be enabled by default and users will need to take action and “approve” certain actions. According to Brad Arkin at Adobe, if Acrobat Reader needs to perform an action that isn’t permitted in the sandboxed environment, such as writing to the user’s temporary folder or launching an attachment inside a PDF file using an external application, the requests are funneled through a “broker process,” which has a strict set of policies for what is allowed and disallowed to prevent access to dangerous functionality.

Adobe, Microsoft and other third parties have been working closely together on the new sandboxing technology. This past summer, Microsoft and Adobe announced an agreement to collaborate and facilitate advanced information sharing on vulnerabilities via the Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) which Adobe has joined. MAPP is a collaborative effort involving 65 global members that facilitates the sharing of product vulnerabilities with security software providers.

“Adobe Reader Protected Mode represents an exciting new advancement in attack mitigation. Even if an exploitable security vulnerability is found by an attacker, Adobe Reader Protected Mode will help prevent the attacker from writing files, changing registry keys or installing malware on potential victims’ computers,” said Brad Arkin in a blog post when the feature was first announced.

In addition to the new protected mode, Acrobat Reader X for desktop adds the ability to share feedback through the use of Sticky Notes and Highlighter tools, as well as view a larger variety of content types such as drawings, emails, spreadsheets, videos, and other multimedia elements.

Acrobat Reader X for Android is also available, and has added features including support for Tablets, go to page, search, opening Portfolios and password protected PDF files, as well as the ability to share PDF files via email. 

Acrobat X Standard is immediately available in English, French, German, and Japanese language versions for US$299 ($139 upgrade) and Acrobat X Pro is immediately available for US$449 ($199 upgrade). Adobe’s Free Acrobat Reader X is expected to be available by the end of the month.

Adobe Reader for Android was first released back in May of this year and has amassed over 3 million downloads in that short period of time. In Reader X for Android we’ve also expanded language support to a total of thirteen including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Brazilian-Portuguese, Swedish, Russian, Czech, Polish and Turkish.

You can download Adobe Acrobat Reader X for desktop at http://get.adobe.com/reader/ or download the Android version through the Android Market using your Android mobile device.

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