- January 3, 2014
This past October, Adobe Systems (makers of Adobe PDF software) announced that they had been the victims of a deliberate and concentrated hacking attack on their servers. When the dust settled, Adobe found that the hackers had gained access to over 38 million customer files, including customer IDs, credit and debit card information, and numerous other data points. In addition, Adobe revealed that their corporate source code for PDF software product Adobe Acrobat, as well as for other products like Cold Fusion and Cold Fusion Builder, were stolen as well.
It appears as though this is the largest hacking attack in Adobe’s history, and one of the largest hacks this year. What started as a breach of about 3 million customer accounts eventually grew to include over 152 million Adobe customers, with significant quantities of sensitive customer data appearing on cybercriminal Websites.
The source code stolen from Adobe, including for Acrobat and Cold Fusion, can now be analyzed and used by hackers looking to exploit weaknesses in the code. This means that users of Adobe’s PDF software, web development applications, and a number of their other Adobe products may be vulnerable to hackers who now have an understanding of the weaknesses in the program code.
As a result of this breach, Adobe has been served a potential class action lawsuit in a California Federal court that accuses the company of failing to protect the sensitive private information of its customers.
What you can do to protect yourself
If you use Adobe software, including PDF software such as Acrobat or Reader, be aware that it may become vulnerable to the actions of hackers at some point. Read up on the latest updates and upgrades and make sure you’re on top of the news.
Also, if you’re an Adobe customer, you should strongly consider changing your password to minimize the possibility of being exploited by cybercriminals. Be sure to make your password complex by using combinations of numbers and letters, symbols, punctuation, and capitalization of letters. Also, never use words that can be easily looked up in a dictionary as hackers have software that does just that.
We also recommend that you remain vigilant about any e-mail attachments you open and the links that you click on.
As to what to do about the PDF software you use, this is a tricky one. We don’t want to advocate you removing software you rely on for business, be it ours or anyone else’s. Our best advice is, be careful.