This is an excerpt from an email we sent out to several clients last month, but remains as good advice for many others as well.
In recent months, Adobe has suffered from numerous critical flaws in their Acrobat and PDF Reader products, necessitating frequent upgrades to keep the software current and patch against these vulnerabilities. Furthermore, Adobe’s software has gotten increasingly bloated and more cumbersome to deploy with each version.
We are recommending that clients who require PDF viewing capabilities consider switching off of Adobe Reader to an alternative, such as Foxit Reader. While Foxit Reader also has had its share of security flaws, they have tended to be less critical and patched more quickly. Also, Foxit Reader requires fewer system resources and is easier to deploy across a network than Adobe Reader.
Instead of upgrading to the latest version of Adobe Reader, we are recommending that we migrate your installations from Adobe Reader to Foxit Reader. This should be a simple change for clients where Adobe Reader is already deployed over the network. This would not apply the full version of Adobe Acrobat, although Foxit does publish an alternative for this as well.
We only recommend staying with Adobe Reader if you have a key application which requires it and, if this is the case, that you contact the publisher of said application to make it vendor-neutral, and support other PDF readers besides Adobe’s bug-ridden product.
Note: As if to underscore this, within hours of my drafting this blog post, Adobe announced yet another vulnerability in Adobe Reader, for which, at the time of this writing, there is still no patch.