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Disabling Adobe Reader Plugin In Your Browser


Throughout the last few years, there have been repeated malware vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader (formerly Acrobat Reader), some of which Adobe has taken as long as three months to patch.  Reader (and Acrobat Professional) install a plug-in in your browser so you can read PDF files in your browser rather than in the separate Reader application.  Malware programmers find this very convenient for infecting your computer with Anti-virus proof malware just by you loading a page with code that attacks Reader vulnerabilities.

In light of the frequent vulnerabilities to malware and Adobe's slow update cycle disabling the Reader plug-in is probably the best thing to do to protect the security of your computer.  Disabling the Reader plug-in will result in your downloading PDFs to view in the Reader application rather than viewing them in your browser.


How do you disable the Reader plug-in?

To disable the Adobe Reader plug-in in your browser, try this:

  • Firefox 3 and above: Go to "Tools -> Add-ons -> Plugins". Select the Adobe Acrobat entry and click "Disable".
  • IE8 and above: Go to "Tools -> Internet Options -> Programs -> Manage Add-Ons." Select each Adobe PDF/Reader/Acrobat entry and click "Disable"
  • Mac Safari: On the top level of your boot drive browse to "Library ->Internet Plug-ins" delete the "AdobePDFViewer.plugin"
  • Your browser missing?  Call the help desk and have a tech help you and take notes on the steps, including browser brand and version, then post them in the comments below.

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