Document Files Can Contain Viruses, Too

hand coming out from monitorHackers and malware designers never run out of tricks – and now commonly used programs like MS Word and Adobe Reader can be exploited to help introduce malware and viruses into your system.

It might be common knowledge that Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader are probably the most used document editing /viewing applications out there, but here’s something you might not know: documents and PDF files can be used to introduce viruses and malware into your system.

Unfortunately for MS Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader, security experts aren’t too happy about how (not) secure these programs really are. Since they’re so widely used, hackers and malware designers have come up with ways to exploit these programs and the documents associated with them in order to hit as many people possible.

As a security measure, consider opening document and PDF files in alternative programs, such as Open Office for MS Office documents, and Foxit Reader or PDF Studio for PDF files. Even if you feel uncomfortable using these programs to create and edit your everyday documents, at least consider using them to open suspicious documents.

As for attachments that come with emails, try opening a suspicious file with Gmail. Send suspicious documents to a Gmail account and open it from there - Google Mail runs a virus check on it, and if it passes, open it on Google Docs to see what’s inside. You can also submit suspicious files to an online virus checker such as Virustotal, which will run it through a series of antivirus scanners to see if any red flags pop up.

It’s a bit of extra effort, true, but it beats having to deal with a full-fledged virus attack on your system. If you want to make sure that you have all the options available to secure your system, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to sit down with you and discuss security policies that fit your needs.

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