These free Adobe Acrobat downloads are infested with malware

Criminals can infect your devices in many ways. A standard method is phishing attacks, when they send you a fake email or SMS with a link. Once you click on the link and log in, the scammer captures your details. Another popular way is to use fraudulent software.

Earlier this month, criminals sent infected USB drives to several people disguised as legitimate Microsoft software. Although the latest delivery method differs, the use of fake software to steal your information is not unique.

Read on to see why you need to be careful when downloading Adobe Acrobat files.

Here is the backstory

Criminals constantly follow popular trends. For example, when cryptocurrencies became mainstream, the Google Play Store saw an increase in fake crypto wallets. These have only stolen your funds.

But official app stores are not the only place people find malware-infested programs. People have searched the web for pirated things like movies, music, and software for years. Sites claiming to offer free versions of popular programs are notorious for hosting malware.

Lately, these malicious sites have seen an increase in Google search results. With the delicious name of “SEO poisoning”, scammers place fake links as high as possible in Google search results.

A new malware campaign targets people seeking free downloads of Adobe Acrobat Pro and 7-Data Recovery Suite through illegal file hosting websites.

Cybersecurity firm Zscaler said criminals were embedding information thieves into illegal software. This malware can steal passwords stored on your device and payment information and take screenshots.

The company found malware in the following programs:

  • Adobe Acrobat Pro.
  • 3DMark.
  • 3DVista Pro virtual tour.
  • 7-Data Recovery Suite.
  • MAGIX SoundForce Pro.
  • Wondershare Dr Fone.

If you pay for legitimate versions of programs, you can avoid malware. But when cybercriminals host hacked versions that you are looking to get for free, all bets are off.

What can you do about it

Getting malicious sites to appear at the top of Google search results is a boon for criminals. Not only does the link you click redirect to a spoofed site, but it will most likely redirect you to many others and end up infecting your device with malware.

“The redirect sites that deliver the malicious files have less fancy names and are located on the ‘XYZ’ and ‘CFD’ top-level domains,” Zscaler explains in a blog post.

There are things you can do to stay safe online, starting with never downloading software from sites with pirated content. Pirated software is illegal and the site is often malicious and will infect your device with malware. Here are some ways to stay protected.

  • Always download apps and software from official sources such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Unfortunately, third-party libraries lack the security protections provided by official stores.
  • Make sure your computer’s operating system and anti-virus software are on the latest version to detect any harmful activity.
  • Do not open or click on links or attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages.

Always have a trusted antivirus program updated and running on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan with TotalAV for just $19 at That’s over 85% off the regular price!

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