How The Adobe Breach Might Affect You

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.

More Information

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.

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20 Comments

  1. marketing Lessons Learnt 🙂

    Reply
  2. bradley joseph nartowt

     /  January 7, 2014

    When you say “change your password”, are you referring to our email password?

    Reply
  3. Janet Fix

     /  January 7, 2014

    Great advice. Ironic that Adobe themselves didn’t bother notifying me of anything.

    Reply
    • K Jackson

       /  January 7, 2014

      Neither did I get notification, who did, anyone?

      Reply
      • I’ve been a registered Adobe CUSTOMER since 1989, and no, I did NOT receive a notice from Adobe regarding THEIR FAILURE to protect my personal data against hackers.

        Adobe WAS an excellent caring, cutting-edge technology company filled with techie-types dedicated to making the best product out there. Now, Adobe has become a corporate monster filled with a bunch of Wall Street hacks “renting” software and NOT truly caring about their loyal user base.

        With all the HOOPS and CRAP Adobe puts their users through trying to control product licenses — it’s poetic irony that a bunch of post cold-war hackers waltz right in to Adobe’s servers and take product code like they were sitting on a buffet table.

        For the last 1o years, Adobe has been financially squeezing its customers with excessive price increases and unnecessary product obsolescence. Personally, I hope the hackers of the world tightly squeeze the nuts of this Fat-Cat corporate monster to the point it feels the same pain as its loyal customers have felt over the last decade.

        Screw me? Screw you, Adobe!!

  4. Kathleen Hall

     /  January 7, 2014

    Although I renewed before this information was received and to date have not used Adobe, I am very unhappy about this hacking and if possible would like to receive a refund and cancel Adobe.

    Reply
    • K Jackson

       /  January 8, 2014

      Yes Agree Kathleen. It seems 99.9% of clients have not been advised, certainly not good client relations / service recovery. Foxit PDF is an option.

      Reply
  5. Richard Grisham

     /  January 7, 2014

    What does it mean to be careful when using PDF software?

    Reply
  6. To PDF Foxit: Great advice. Keep the info coming. We may not be able to use the product but the info is always active for users. Geoff

    Reply
  7. I received both an email and a letter detailing what to do plus the offer of a free credit monitoring service. Obviously, my pw was changed right away.

    Reply
  8. Nope, didn’t get any noticfication… Change all passwords for any associated program associated with adobe, fox pdf et all… Thank you for the heads up…

    Reply
  9. thanks for the warning , but I only use Foxit PDF reader, Adobe PDF reader might still sit on the computer though. 😦

    Reply
    • K Jackson

       /  January 8, 2014

      Yes this is the case with many PDF users I think ie still have old programmes on their systems.

      Reply
  10. Brian L Vroom, DC, DAAPM

     /  January 8, 2014

    Well I DID get an email, actually several, through CC services and for all my registered products. They spelled out exactly what happened and I promptly changed my password. I use Foxit for my pdf reader, not Adobe. But you know Foxit and all other pdf products that use a different code set are smirking if not chuckling right now at the Big Boy coming to grief. But remember that all pdfs have a similar structure by nature, so the programs that read and create these documents may have similar exploits. There is a reason Adobe is always putting out those annoying updates. Let’s hope Adobe can get the holes plugged or get another layer of security or we may all have to deal with explots and virus-laden attachments. Imagine if we cannot open a pdf emailed for fear of malicious intent just like we feal about many other attachments.

    Reply
  11. Don

     /  January 8, 2014

    Thanks for the warning !

    Reply
  12. Tony Meacock

     /  January 8, 2014

    Well I had an email from Adobe on the 10/10/2013 saying “Important Password Reset Information
    To view this message in a language other than English, please click here.

    We recently discovered that an attacker illegally entered our network and may have obtained access to your Adobe ID and encrypted password. We currently have no indication that there has been unauthorized activity on your account. ”

    Tony M

    Reply
  13. K Jackson

     /  January 8, 2014

    Great

    Reply

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