Protected Mode in Adobe Acrobat DC for Windows


Adobe announced this week it’s introduced a protected mode for Windows in Adobe Acrobat DC.

The feature is currently only available in preview, and only for Windows users running Adobe Acrobat DC 20.009.20063.381938 or higher on their computers.

The Protected Mode, implemented ten years ago in Acrobat Reader, is designed to help keep users protected from bugs that may have been found in malicious PDFs.

The PDF file format is widely used in business environments, and has long been abused by malicious actors to deliver malware to unsuspecting victims.

The Protected Mode in Acrobat DC is designed to ensure additional security layers are available for users, thereby enhancing protection of desktop environments from potentially malicious code.

To that end, it keeps document execution and application code in a sandbox, isolating potentially malicious code when opening PDFs.

Acrobat DC, says Adobe, has millions of users worldwide, including in corporate environments, but hasn’t yet received support for Safe Mode due to compatibility concerns.

“Protected mode applications run in a restricted environment and may therefore have compatibility issues with existing customer environment configurations and policies,” says Chris Parkerson, senior Adobe Corporate Security Team campaign manager.

Protected Mode Preview is now rolling out to all customers and Adobe encourages them to test the new feature and report any problems they have encountered so they can be addressed.

Users need to open Adobe Acrobat DC for Windows, go to Edit > Preferences > Protection (Enhanced), and pick Allow Protected Mode at startup (Preview).

The same can be done by setting the registry key below:

HKCU\SOFTWARE\Adobe Acrobat\DC\BProtectedMode(REG DWORD) = 1

And restarts Acrobat.

“We hope you’ll try out Adobe Acrobat DC Protected Mode in your environment and give us your feedback,” concludes Parkerson.

Melina Richardson
Melina Richardson is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cybers Guards. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.