Was respected security techie and F-Secure CTO, Mikko Hypponen, right to condemn the Acrobat PDF as a menace to e-society?

Worry over PDFs is nothing new, with hack-crafted versions having been used regularly to attempt spam filter evasion for at least two years. And then there are the occasional big holes.

But according to Hypponen, nearly half of the targeted attacks his company has found this year have been aimed at exploiting the PDF or its Acrobat reader, a striking level of malevolence.

"No, I don't like Adobe reader," said Hypponen in a tweet, repeating the theme of his RSA conference presentation. Fair enough, at least he's being honest.

Ok, so PDFs are over-used. At some point in that last decade, marketing departments the world over convinced themselves that no press release or marketing hand out could possibly be rendered in anything else, and they started coming at email and web users thick and fast. I even once found a PDF that contained thumbnails of all the other PDFs that particular company had made available.

The second problem is that Adobe's reader comes with virtually every new PC sold, which gives it a head start over any rivals.

But is not Acrobat and its Windows PDF reader, what to use?

In fact there are a plethora of alternatives, very few of them tried and tested by a large enough body of users to be declared seaworthy. One that can be recommended for its compatibility is Foxit, if you can screen out the ask.com and eBay nuisanceware it wants to give you during install. But it does work well as a pure reader.

Hypponen holds out hope of that Adobe might make security a more obvious part of the update cycle. Good luck in convincing them.