The orange Foxit logo with two band aids forming an X over the logo

Foxit Reader Patches Vulnerabilities—Finally

The orange Foxit logo with two band aids forming an X over the logoFoxit Reader has finally responded with a security update after two zero-day vulnerabilities were responsibly disclosed through Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative. The vulnerability was reported to Foxit back on May 18th. The disclosure went public on August 17th.

Initially, Foxit indicated they would not patch the vulnerability stating, “Foxit Reader & PhantomPDF has a Safe Reading Mode which is enabled by default to control the running of JavaScript, which can effectively guard against potential vulnerabilities from unauthorized JavaScript actions.” I guess…provided no one has turned it off or been tricked into turning it off.

Foxit Has a Change of Heart

Now Foxit has indicated, “A prompt response to software defects and security vulnerabilities has been, and will continue to be, a top priority for everyone here at Foxit Software.” That sounds a little better. The current versions of Foxit Reader and PhantomPDF are 8.3.2. You can check your current version by choosing the About Foxit Reader link on the Help tab.

You can update Foxit Reader and/or PhantomPDF by going to the Help tab and selecting Check for Update. Alternatively, you can visit Foxit’s download page.

Adobe Reader Help menu showing the "Check for Updates..." linkAdobe Reader Updates

While we’re at it, it’s worth mentioning that Adobe Reader works just fine and hasn’t had issues with zero-day attacks in years. Years ago, many abandoned it in favor of other PDF readers—either because they felt it was too bloated or due to past security issues.

Adobe Reader’s current versions are: Adobe Reader DC: 2017.012.20095 (August 11) and Adobe Reader XI: 11.0.22 (August 22). If you’re using any Adobe Reader products older than XI, you haven’t been protected with security updates since October 12, 2015! Yikes!

Check Reader’s version by selecting Check for Updates… from the bottom of the Help menu.

Keep Your Software Updated, Or Uninstall It

This constant patching of software highlights the importance of making sure you are up to date with whatever version you are running. If you installed some software that you no longer use—uninstall it. You’ll save time when trying to keep everything updated. Most software can be updated by looking for a link in the Help menu. Some require you to select About from the Help menu, and then check for updates from there. You can always visit the publisher’s website to see what the latest version is.

Why not get into a regular habit of checking other software right after Microsoft downloads and installs their updates each month? If you keep your amount of software trimmed down to just what you use, the ‘checking for updates’ process each month shouldn’t take much time at all.

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