September 17, 2014

Adobe has released a security update for its Acrobat and PDF Reader products that fixes at least eight critical vulnerabilities in Mac and Windows versions of the software. If you use either of these programs, please take a minute to update now.

adobeshatteredUsers can manually check for updates by choosing Help > Check for Updates. Adobe Reader users on Windows also can get the latest version here; Mac users, here.

Adobe said it is not aware of exploits or active attacks in the wild against any of the flaws addressed in this update. More information about the patch is available at this link.

For those seeking a lightweight, free alternative to Adobe Reader, check out Sumatra PDF. Foxit Reader is another popular alternative, although it seems to have become less lightweight in recent years.

29 thoughts on “Critical Update for Adobe Reader & Acrobat

    1. Bruce Hobbs

      For OS X, why do you need anything beyond Preview? Why install additional, unneeded software? (This applies to Skim as well as Adobe Reader.)

      1. Timothy J. McGowan

        “For OS X, why do you need anything beyond Preview?”

        For the same reason you need something beyond Microsoft Reader that is included with Windows 8. You can’t see bookmarks or outlines, nor can you see attachments. Unless Apple has finally updated its software in the last couple months, of course. Test here, for instance:

        There’s a lot more there than just the two pages.

        — Tim

      2. Bob Stromberg

        I install Adobe Reader on a Mac because Preview will not open certain PDFs. A year or so ago, I tried to open a form using Preview. (It was either an IRS form or a DMV form.) Wouldn’t open. So I installed Adobe Reader. The form opened fine in Adobe Reader. Preview is still the default PDF viewer on that system.

        Lots of discussion on this topic here:

        I wish I had a good clear simple technical description of what causes this problem.

        1. Phil Cooper

          Most likely, it’s caused by some clueless user with the latest, bleeding edge version of Adobe Acrobat creating a PDF with features that earlier readers, including Adobe’s own Adobe Reader, can’t handle. If it happens within your own organization, the problem is fixable by generating a PDF that’s compatible with earlier versions or the ISO standard , but if you’re dealing with nameless, faceless bureaucrats at the IRS or the DMV, fat chance of anything positive happening.

  1. Obi Wan Adobe

    use Adobe’s ftp site and by pass all the html jibberish to get the exact updates you need. besides, ftp is way faster at downloading this stuff from Adobe.

    “These are the downloads that you are looking for!”

    1. Will

      FTP isn’t any faster when all it does is time out for the Adobe folder. I can get to the site and the pub\ folder, but beyond that it times out every time in Firefox and Filezilla.

      1. Obi Wan Adobe

        “The force is not with you, Perhaps?”


        “These downloads are not looking for you!”

  2. Sama Vim

    >> For OS X, why do you need anything beyond Preview? Why install additional, unneeded software? (This applies to Skim as well as Adobe Reader.)

    Skim, while not being a feature-rich PDF editor like Acrobat, isn’t just a PDF viewer, it’s a free application that allows you to do things like add and edit notations to PDF files. It’s a nice alternative with features that put it in between OS X’s Preview and Adobe’s pricey Acrobat.

    1. Dave

      Not even being a Mac user for at least 20+ years, I assumed as much. Bruce Hobbs’ comment is typical of a user who can’t fathom why anyone would need any more than they do (the most basic functionality).

      I assumed Skim must at least provide commenting capability, which enables the user to fill out forms then print them out, rather than print then fill out by hand with pen & ink.

  3. JCitizen

    I use Foxit Reader, but it is getting about as bloated and bad as Adobe. I need to look for an alternative.

  4. Thomas

    Fill-able, saveable forms in PDF format are a great tool used by the IRS, other government entities, and many businesses. You can’t fill them out and save them with the viewer tools Apple product users are conned into thinking are the same as Adobe Reader. Whenever we have a customer who can’t fill out the form and save the form, the first question is are you on a Mac or Ipad. Too bad Adobe isn’t better at making PDF files less insecure.

  5. Rob Meblind

    I tried downloading the Ask Toolbar but it came bundled with this Adobe Reader crapware…

    1. BaliRob

      @ Rob Meblind,

      Have you got this the wrong way around? Without Adobe, especially Reader, my pc would be virtually
      worthless. ASK Toolbar is is the unwanted “crapware” (to quote you ) that rides on the back of downloads causing many problems making itself very difficult to

        1. BaliRob

          @ intelligencia,

          Please re-read my comment.

          I KNOW that it is adware and very annoying adware at

          Please note that speed reading is what causes offence (not very offended of course ha ha ha)

    2. Ray

      Re: I downloaded the ask toolbar…

      You guys don’t get it. I laughed my behind off at that joke.
      It’s the ask toolbar that comes as crapware with a lot of other software downloads.

    1. Jonathan E. Jaffe

      Sumatra (using the stand alone version that does not to registry work) is under 6MB and lightening fast. Has excellent command line access, but does not have (unless I missed it) is annotation capability of any kind. No highlighting, underlining, etc.

      Is there a lightweight that does?



    I would love just one month, without any computer updates, what so ever.

    1. Jonathan E. Jaffe

      As each update can (and has) provide its own set of problems you (and me and a whole lot of others) are unpaid gamma testers.

      In general if it works I leave it alone. I still use CorelDraw version 9.0 from 1999 and PaintShopPro 5.01 from 1998. Both do what I need and, especially compared to today’s bloatware, are very fast to load and execute.

      The exception is when a third party without a vested interest tells me to update to patch a security hole.

      It was supposed to be better than this by now.
      “Dude! Where is my jetpack??”

      Also – how do I get an avatar instead of a pasty white outline that looks entirely too much like me?

  7. Obi Wan Adobe

    about the avatar, this is probably the only pic that the FBI has on file of you, so be thankful my young jedi. and Really, did you think there would be jetpacks in your future? if you believed that, then a Cantina I have on Tatooine to sell you.

    1. Jonathan E. Jaffe

      Oh Big Wan, I know the FBI has more than a few pictures of me and my fingerprints for back in the day I was haze gray and underway trying to do my bit to serve the Navy. Literally, I was on a supply ship with tons of food for the crew and mega-barrels of fuel for the ships.

      As for the cantina, nah. Too many rough characters, too much dust, and not enough single malt scotch.

      As for the jetpacks, one could certainly hope for a more interesting commute that via the big city transit system. On the other hand I could get a comic book and a one-way trip from a quarter and still have change. They are about $2/each now.

      May the Force be with us all.

  8. Pete

    Haha I love your new graphic for the Adobe logo. So perfect. Now if we could get a Java one covered completely in text and dollar bills – my life would be complete.

  9. Chris Thomas

    Is Adobe trying to lock out Windows XP users? Reader 11.0.09 works fine with XP as I expected it would. Worrying is that the Help menu update check no longer works. Obviously Adobe is happy for XP users to continue to use unsafe older versions of Adobe Reader, including XI.

    I am grateful to Brian for providing the URLs for update downloads.

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