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Is Adobe trying to pull a fast one?

  1. May 19, 2015 #1
    How concerned should I be when the latest update for Adobe Flash Player includes the following paragraph?

    "7. Connectivity and Privacy. You acknowledge and agree to the following:
    7.1 Use of PDF Files. When you Use the Software to open a PDF file that has been enabled to display
    ads, your Computer may connect to a website operated by Adobe, an advertiser, or other third party.
    Your Internet Protocol address (“IP Address”) is sent when this happens. The party hosting the site may
    use technology to send (or “serve”) advertising or other electronic content that appears in or near the
    opened PDF file. The website operator may also .... personalize advertising content. ...... Adobe may not have access to or control over features that a third party may use, and the
    information practices of third party websites are not covered by the Adobe Online Privacy Policy."

    Not to mention that 7.2 makes you accept automatic updates.

    For the moment, until someone on this forum can give me a good idea as to how much more spam this will bring me, I will not update. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2015 #2
    I wouldn't be all that concerned. Flash is a dying technology anyway. Wouldn't be a big deal not to update. I remember they tried this a few years ago and ended up rolling it back.
     
  4. May 19, 2015 #3

    berkeman

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    I didn't know PDF files could display ads and open web pages without me clicking on hyperlinks in them...
     
  5. May 19, 2015 #4

    wabbit

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    PDFs can do pretty much anything I suspect, unless you disable javascript in the reader. Otherwise they wouldn't be a malware vector.
     
  6. May 19, 2015 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    Wabbit is spot on. PDF's are a security problem, as are any file objects that can support runing vbscript or js when opened. MSWORD, Excel, etc. This warning, or whatever or wanna call it, is really Adobe covering their butts for people misusing their product. Originally PDF was a display only format. Then users demanded the ability to "edit" PDF objects. Then more bells and whistles. With that extended ability comes an extended liability.

    PS: Your Adobe reader probably can already execute embedded code without the newest update. I first learned about this back in 2010.
    http://blog.didierstevens.com/programs/pdf-tools/
     
  7. May 19, 2015 #6

    wabbit

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    Agreed. The first thing to do with a reader (for me) is go the the settings and disable scripting support (this can be done easily in adobe reader but scripting is enabled by default). This is very seldom used for useful purposes (mostly forms) but is a very definite security risk. Unfortunately, embedded readers in browsers don't always offer that possibility (I'd be happy to find one that does, actually).
     
  8. May 19, 2015 #7
    The thing that bothers me is that when downloading an update or a new version of a program I seem to get little surprises along with them. I updated java and all of a sudden a Bing search bar appeared. I updated the mapping program that my local county uses and shazam Google was gone and the Ask bar was there. Neither one could be deleted. I had to set Google as my preferred search engine.
     
  9. May 20, 2015 #8
    Java version 8 update 45? I downloaded, and installed, it fine without any Bing search appearing.
     
  10. May 20, 2015 #9

    russ_watters

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    This has been a standard "feature" of the Java updates for as long as I remember and is common to lots and lots of programs/updates. Pro tip: always do a "custom" install of every program you ever install so that you can see what else it wants to do that you should know about. You can pretty much always opt not to install the extra carp.
    The "feature" described by edward can be disabled in the Java Control Panel. Maybe you disabled it long ago and forgot about it:

    Java.jpg
     
  11. May 20, 2015 #10

    berkeman

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    Are there any downsides to disabling JavaScript in Adobe Acrobat? Will that prevent me from searching for words, or from copying words out of a PDF file to paste into other applications?
     
  12. May 20, 2015 #11

    phinds

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    Where do you find settings? My Adobe reader does not see to have one. It has a ton of stuff under preferences but I can't find anything about scripting.
     
  13. May 20, 2015 #12

    OCR

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    I unchecked this, but I don't know if it's the right deal or not...?


    Adobe JavaScript.JPG

     
  14. May 21, 2015 #13

    wabbit

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    Right, that's what I was referring to - in the preferences, uncheck "Enable Acrobat javascript".
     
  15. May 21, 2015 #14

    OCR

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    Ah, good... thank you, wabbit!
     
  16. May 21, 2015 #15

    wabbit

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    It doesn't disable that for me, but its an easy setting to toggle back on if you find you miss some functionality.

    There is an alternative it seems : under "security" and "advanced security" you can play with a number of subtle settings that appear to fine tune which documents you allow to do what - but I don't understand it, it's far too complex for me - the on/off button is all I use. And I use the "off" position only.
     
  17. May 21, 2015 #16

    phinds

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    Thanks rabbit. Got it.
     
  18. May 21, 2015 #17

    Borg

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    The IP Address is always sent as part of any internet request. Otherwise, the receiving server wouldn't know where to send the response.
     
  19. May 21, 2015 #18
    I don't recall going that deep into Java settings -- maybe there was an option in a previous upgrade that I un-ticked that was the same setting. But I checked my settings and that particular setting is un-ticked.
     
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