Saturday, February 5, 2011

PDF security weakness noted

Given that many e-textbooks are still distributed in a .pdf format, or given that according to a recent BISG study as many as 40% of students pirate their textbooks (or have friends that do), the following recent news piece should give some pause to students acquiring textbooks in .pdf formats, and the publishers who produce them.

A MSNBC story reports that PDFs are now the number one vehicle for for web-based attacks. The story notes that currently e-readers are safe but that could change as more content moves to those devices and the devices take on more processing and multi-function capability (like the iPad and other tablets). Students should watch to make sure that textbooks they acquire in pdf format come from trusted sources, as the article notes that "spear-phishing" (targeted and personal attacks to a user from a known source) are a common method used in some of the .pdf-related malicious attacks.

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