Anti-malware vendor Avast Software is reporting that six out of every 10 of its users are running an outdated version of Adobe Reader.
In a statement, the company said:
An analysis of avast! antivirus users found that 60.2% of those with Adobe Reader were running a vulnerable version of the program and only 40% of users had the newest Adobe Reader X or were fully patched. One out of every five users also had an unpatched version of Adobe Reader that was at least two generations old (8.x).
Adobe Reader is the most popular PDF reader application and subsequently is the biggest target for malware writers. Over 80% of avast! users run a version of Adobe Reader, with Foxit, the second most popular PDF reader, having a much smaller user share of 4.8%.
These numbers are worrisome when you take into account that the Adobe software is always among the most commonly exploited programs. It's important to note, too, that there are specialized PDF exploit packs targeting users running outdated versions of Adobe Reader.
If you must use Adobe Reader, it's very important to update to Adobe Reader X with Protected View (aka “sandboxing”). Windows users should also and opt into the automatic update option.