Security researcher: Microsoft should follow Apple’s lead and offer PDF viewer with Windows

Apple Online Store“Microsoft should add a basic PDF viewer to Windows to help protect users from the spike in attacks exploiting bugs in Adobe’s Reader, a security researcher said Friday,” Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld. “‘Apple does this with its Preview [application], and Microsoft should, too,’ said Sean Sullivan, a security advisor with Finnish antivirus vendor F-Secure’s North American operation. ‘I just want to view and read PDFs. I don’t want to listen to them or watch them or launch executables from them or run JavaScript,’ Sullivan added, referring to several advanced features that Abobe’s own PDF viewer, the for-free Reader, supports.”

“Some of those features, including Reader’s support of JavaScript and the PDF specification’s support for the /Launch function, have been exploited by attackers in increasing numbers since 2008,” Keizer reports. “According to tallies by antivirus vendor McAfee, PDF exploits were up more than eight times in 2009 compared to the year before, a trend that has continued into 2010.”

Keizer reports, “Office cannot open PDF documents without third-party software or add-ons… Sullivan compared his vision of a Windows PDF viewer to Preview, the application that Apple includes with Mac OS X.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dominick P.” for the heads up.]


  1. As I understand it, Apple worked with Adobe so far back on the PDF specification (that whole putting-PostScript-on-the-map-with-PageMaker-for-Macintosh thing) that they got permission to bundle parts of it for free with the launch of OS X. Microsoft has no such agreement and would likely have to pay Adobe a royalty to implement what the article suggests.

  2. Microsoft DOES follow Apple’s lead. They are just usually 5 – 10 years behind, so there probably is a Microsoft PDF viewer about to debut! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  3. Preview is a little gem in OS X and it improved with each new version of OS X. In Snow Leopard you can now mark-up PDF documents, thereby eliminating the need for Acrobat Pro.

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