Nearly every computer has Adobe's Reader installed by default - it's what you typically use to open PDF files. If your computer has Adobe Reader, then you need these critical updates.
After missing the boat on last week's Update Tuesday from Microsoft, Adobe has finally released 8 critical patches for Adobe Reader and Acrobat.
Just as a refresher, Adobe Reader is a program for reading PDF files and Adobe Acrobat is a program for making them. If you want to ditch Adobe's products, check out PDF=Xchange Viewer for reading and light editing, and doPDF for creating PDFs.
Five of the Adobe security flaws could allow a hacker to run a malicious program if you open an infected PDF file. Learn how hackers trick you into downloading files using phishing scams.
The other three flaws taken together could allow that malicious program to take over your computer. So, it's a serious problem.
To see if you have the latest version of Reader, go to Start>>All Programs and the Adobe Reader icon should be in the list of programs near the top. You can also go to Start and type "Adobe Reader" or "Adobe Acrobat" in the search bar.
Open the program and go to Help>>About Adobe Reader. The version you want to see is either 11.0.09 or 10.1.12. If the numbers are anything else, go to Help>>Check for Updates and let the update install. Or you can download the updates directly from Adobe's site.
If you're still running an older version of Adobe Reader, like version 9, uninstall it right away and install Adobe Reader XI. Older versions of Reader have way too many flaws that leave your computer open to hackers.
Adobe did release critical updates for Adobe Flash last week. Make sure you have those installed as well.