Security flaws in Adobe reader and Acrobat are nothing new, but in a recent round of updates, Adobe has patched 29 vulnerabilities at once. The updates also included a new software updater that should, once activated, deliver patches in a more effective way.
This will be a welcome change for anyone that’s had to use the current updater. It only checks for updates to Adobe software weekly, and given the frequency of exploits in their products, it isn’t enough. Some updates would even mysteriously vanish from the updater, leaving users vulnerable. This should all change with the new version.
The other vulnerabilities addressed in the set of patches revolved mostly around remote code execution attacks. One of which was already in use around the internet. Adobe warned Mac and Unix users that the same vulnerabilities exist on their platforms as well. The internet is a dangerous place.
If it seems like Adobe's Acrobat Reader is constantly under attack, well, that's because there's some truth to it. The latest threat comes in the form of another zero-day bug being exploited in targeted attacks, Adobe said.
Not a whole lot of information has been made available on the newest threat, though according to an advisory from VUPEN Security, the vulnerability in question is an unspecified memory corruption error that occurs when users open a specially crafted PDF file. VUPEN says the bug can be exploited remotely.
"Adobe plans to resolve this issue as part of the upcoming Adobe Reader and Acrobat quarterly update, scheduled for release on October 13," blogged David Lenoe of the Adobe Product Security Incident Response Team. "Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.1.3 customers with DEP (Data Execution Prevention) enabled on Windows Vista will be protected from this exploit."
In the meantime, Johannes Ullrich, a researcher with the SANS Institute, says users can avoid the potential threat by first converting PDFs into another format, like Postscript, and then back into PDF form. At the same time, Ullrich warns this isn't 100 percent certain to remove the exploit and could actually infect the machine mucking around with the file. Fantastic.
Anyone else using Foxit Software's super-lean freebie PDF reader, Foxit Reader?
Adobe’s plans for the Flash Player will help to reduce the problems developers experience porting apps to multiple platforms. According to Adrain Ludwig, Adobe’s product marketing manager for the Flash platform, “Fundamentally, right now if you are a web developer, or a mobile developer no one goes back and forth between the two. Now, if you have a great mobile idea, go ahead and build it and put it on a mobile device.”
Initially missing from the list was Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone. Suitable teeth gnashing over the slight followed until a subsequent announcement by John Loiacono, the senior vice president of Adobe’s Creative Solutions Business. During his key note address, Loiacono said the iPhone would get something a bit better: Adobe Flash Professional CS5. CS5 will permit developers to create Flash applications that run native on the iPhone. Aditya Bansod, of Adobe Developers Connection, says this is due to demands by Flash developers eager to create apps for Apple’s mobile device.
If you happen to be a web designer, Microsoft would like to have a quick word with you. Just don’t drop any more money on Adobe products until you’ve heard them out. Microsoft’s Expression design tools haven’t enjoyed wide scale adoption in the face of Adobe, but they’re out to change that. As part of Microsoft’s “Spark” program, they will be giving away several thousand dollars worth of software to any small design firms interested.
Web design shops with up to 10 employees are eligible, and all they have to do is pay a $100 administrative fee. The so-called “WebSpark” giveaway includes multiple licenses of Expression, Visual Studio 2008, Web Server 2008 and SQL Server. The software licenses are good for three years and include full support. Not bad for $100.
Microsoft expects 15,000 to 20,000 companies to get in on the deal. Clearly, this program is meant to get small firms into the Microsoft ecosystem early. While their intentions may not be entirely pure, it’s hard to refuse the offer of free software.
This week, Adobe announced its eighth generation of Photoshop Elements for both PC and Mac, and this time Mac users need to wait only a month for the latest version.
Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows and MacOS includes a number of new photo-editing goodies including Photomerge Exposure, Recompose, and better quick fixes for common photo problems. For more about what's new, why MacOS users won't mind waiting a bit longer for their version, and how to try PSE8 for free, join us after the jump.
Adobe's new Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows adds a number of features for easier photo editing, including:
Photomerge Exposure, which builds upon the powerful Photomerge feature in earlier versions of PE to enable you to combine the properly-exposed areas in two otherwise-identical photos into a "single, perfectly-lit photo." The example Adobe demonstrates uses two photos of friends posing in front of a floodlit building, one with and without flash. It'll be interesting to see how Photomerge Exposure does with a pair of RAW images optimized for bright and dark areas.
Recompose, which allows you to intelligently stretch a photo to fit in a particular frame without distorting the main subject. The example Adobe uses converts a landscape-format photo into a square photo, but inquiring minds (like mine) are wondering about converting 4:3 photos into 16:9 photos (and vice-versa).
Smarter, faster quick fixes for exposure, teeth whitening, bluer skies, contrast, and more with better previews.
Read on to find out what else is new in Elements 8.
Do you hate Adobe AIR? I sometimes do. While the applications based on Adobe's framework can be pretty neat to use, there's something about their similar look and shared frameworks, not to mention features, that just can just drive me up the wall. Plus, every new Adobe AIR-based application has to be installed and run through Adobe AIR itself. While it's a handy way to make sure that you're running the most up-to-date version of the application, the Adobe AIR platform isn't very conducive to portable use. Actually, you can't stick AIR-based applications on a USB key and run them at all--the host computer would still need Adobe AIR for these apps to function.
That's but one minor complaint about the AIR platform. There are more, but this week's freeware roundup isn't intended to be a slam on these Adobe apps. Rather, I'll be taking a look at some of Adobe AIR's more popular applications and offering up unique freeware alternatives that don't require use of the AIR platform to work. Not all of the listed applications will support portable use out-of-the-box, but you can use the popular Mojopac Free program to store and access all of these apps on any USB device of your choosing.
Put your trigger-finger on the uninstaller button for Adobe AIR, then click the jump!
How jacked up is your keyboard? Do you have one of those super-fancy, 800+ button, LCD-screen, lit-up, wheeled contraptions that's less an input device, more a control panel at a nuclear power plant? If so, you're probably the kind of person who doesn't need the apps I'm about to list out in this week's freeware roundup. Unless, that is, you're also one of those people (including yours truly) who have a ton of buttons and options to play with, yet no resolve to actually go about mapping this to that.
And if you're just rocking a plain ol' keyboard, I hope you're sitting down because you're in for a world of difference. The applications I'm profiling today are all keyboard-focused, and they all seek to add some kind of additional, awesome functionality to (or based on) your default button layouts. Launch programs! Use your keyboard media buttons to control all of your media players! Look up every Adobe-related shortcut within the span of seconds!
Suffice it to say, I have the keyboard krazies today. Join me after the jump to get your hands on some of the cooler keyboard-related freeware and open-source apps on the Internet!
For many, TweetDeck is the desktop app of choice when tweeting and keeping track of other’s updates. And, with the latest version about to release, the Adobe AIR program will add some support for everyone’s favorite forgotten social network, MySpace.
The new version will also come with stronger bit.ly integration, automatic and instant conversion of long links into shorter ones as you type them, the ability to drag photos directly into TweetDeck and post them to Facebook, and even the capacity to click a hashtag and then open up a new column showing what folks are saying.
Have you always wished you could merge, encrypt or just manipulate a PDF file? Editing PDFs has always been possible with Adobe’s software, but not everyone can afford the steep price of Adobe’s professional suite. But there are actually several pieces of software that will let you deftly manipulate Adobe’s proprietary Portable Document Format. In this guide, we will show you a few ways you can manipulate a PDF file without investing in Acrobat Professional. To start, here’s an overview of the free software that you’ll need.
PDF Split and Merge
As the name implies, this program allows you to split and merge a PDF. However, it has a few limitations. This program will not split or merge protected PDF files (which are password-protected). If you want to split and merge PDFs that you have created, the program should work fine.
Adobe has announced it is discontinuing its Photoshop Album Starter Edition software, which resides at the bottom of Adobe's image-editing products. No new product is taking its place, and instead Adobe is encouraging users to move their photos to the company's online Photoshop.com web portal.
"As part of our commitment to providing customers with a free photo-editing solution, we have created Photoshop.com, an exciting new online service that lets you upload, organize, edit, store (up to 2GB free), and share your photos," Adobe wrote in a note to its customers.
Then note went on to list steps for exporting photos from Photoshop Album Starter Edition to Photoshop.com, as well as asked customers to "consider an upgrade to Adobe Photoshop Elements 7," essentially a stripped-down version of Photoshop CSx with a much lower price tag.