Mcafee: Hackers to Target Adobe PDF, Flash in 2010

Dennis Faas's picture

While most people in the media take this time to offer interesting retrospectives on the year that was, security company McAfee has prepared its predictions for hacker threats in 2010. It forecasts a troubling year for Adobe software, which McAfee believes will be heavily targeted in 2010.

McAfee made the forecast in its 2010 Threat Predictions report, which argued that popular tools Adobe Reader and Flash would become big targets for hackers intent on spreading malware across the worldwide web. McAfee also predicts social networking sites and HTML 5 could be threatened, too.

Adobe Offers Hackers High Rate of Return

The answer is simple: a lot of people use their applications. Nearly every PC and Mac in the world seems to have a copy of Adobe Reader, a necessary tool for reading uber-popular .PDF (portable document format) files.

Adobe Flash is also popular for many web-based projects, meaning that the pair offer an incredible rate of return for the hacker who can develop malware able to skirt security detection and spread quickly through a home or corporate network.

"Based on the current trends, we expect that in 2010 Adobe product exploitation is likely to surpass that of Microsoft Office applications in the number of desktop PCs being attacked," McAfee wrote in the report. (Source:

Adobe Admits Rise in Hacker Threat

The prediction is not particularly surprising. Adobe itself admitted in early 2009 that it had seen attacks on its applications climb steadily in recent years.

In fact, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch told the media at the 2009 Adobe Max conference that attacks on Reader and Flash were up, and that the company had made limiting the time between finding a problem and offering a fix one of its top priorities moving forward.

"We're working to decrease the amount of time between when we know about a problem and when we release a fix. That used to be a couple of months; now it's within two weeks for critical issues," Lynch said in October. (Source:

Social Networking Sites Face Troubling Year, Too

Still, it's not just Adobe and its many users that will need to be wary in 2010. Also steadily rising in popularity are social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Their increased use by digital socialites around the world makes users easy prey -- particularly when these sites' very essence is based upon divulging critical private information online.

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