How-To Geek

How To Disable Javascript in Adobe Reader and Patch the Latest Massive Security Hole

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
(Links may not work, downloads have not been recently tested for safety)

Once again, Adobe has confirmed a gigantic security hole in their buggy, bloated, and completely insecure Adobe PDF Reader application. This isn’t the first time, either—it’s like a non-stop barrage of security holes from Adobe products.

There’s also no antivirus application checking for this security hole, so don’t think you’re safe yet… the latest hole requires disabling Javascript in Adobe Reader, and to do that, you’ll need to head into Edit –> Preferences, and then find the JavaScript category on the left-hand side.


Once you are there, you can disable JavaScript by simply unchecking the “Enable Acrobat JavaScript” box. This setting is probably safer in general, though it will slightly limit functionality.


You can also fix the security hole by completely uninstalling Adobe Reader and using an alternative—something like Sumatra PDF, my personal favorite lightweight PDF reader.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/15/09

Comments (4)

  1. David Levine

    I’ve been using Sumatra PDF for about a month now. Because I rarely work with PDF files at home, it is the perfect application. No sense in installing a massive program for a file type I only open every once in a while. This is especially true when that program is riddled with insecurities.

  2. SquareWheel

    Just a heads up, this flaw is in Acrobat as well. If you have both installed, you have to disable Javascript for both programs.

  3. BigE

    Looks like you might have to turn off JavaScript under each user profile.

  4. TheZeDD

    Adobe patches 23, thats Twenty-Three New Security Holes. I wonder how many were missed?

    Well, I guess this just goes to say….

    Security through obscurity? Or someone deserves a pat on the back for finding all of that. But then does that pat make all better? Does security truely exist?

    | |
    / \ / \
    | | | |
    | | | |


More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!