Adobe considers more frequent patch schedule

The move would allow for faster patching of critical vulnerabilities

Adobe Systems is considering patching its applications more frequently after moving to a quarterly patching schedule for its Acrobat and Reader programs last year.

Brad Arkin, director for product security and privacy, was asked during a Microsoft security event in Redmond, Washington, earlier this week whether Adobe was considering a monthly rather than quarterly patch cycle. Adobe now patches Reader and Acrobat every three months on the same day Microsoft issues its monthly patches, on the second Tuesday of the month. Patches for other Adobe applications are issued on an as-needed basis.

"As for the patch cycle, this is something we are carefully evaluating in trying to provide the best possible solution for our customers," Adobe said in a statement. "We are taking all factors into consideration, including the cost of patch deployment in managed environments."

In June 2009, Adobe announced an aggressive program to beef up the security of its applications after hackers increasingly focused on finding vulnerabilities in its products.

Hackers used vulnerabilities in Acrobat and Reader to craft exploits that would give them remote control over a person's PC if they opened a PDF, which is one of the most widely used document formats. By crafting clever e-mails that appear to come from an acquaintance, hackers sought to trick users with unpatched applications or ones with existing vulnerabilities into opening the rigged files.

Adobe also said last year that it would undertake a comprehensive review of the legacy code in the applications, harden the code in applications, perform human code reviews and use "fuzzers," or tools that try to inject code into an application to see if it accepts data it shouldn't.

(Gregg Keizer of Computerworld contributed to this report.)

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