The most recent edition of the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader automatically injects an extension on your Chrome browser. And, that extension comes with Telemetry. The extension will be automatically installed alongside the Acrobat reader’s update. If you aren’t aware of what it does, you might even allow it to work in the background.
If you install the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader on your Windows PC, you will see the “Adobe Acrobat” Chrome extension installed automatically. Interestingly, the installer doesn’t tell you that it will install an extension, so it is quite fishy.
What’s more problematic is that it comes with Telemetry. If you aren’t aware of the word, well, Telemetry basically means that the Acrobat reader Chrome extension will collect data from your browser, and will send some (or all) of it to Adobe. Adobe can then mine that data and can know your browsing habits. They can sell this data or snoop on your browsing activities.
chrome://extensions on your address bar in Chrome and hit Enter. You will see a list of all the extensions that are currently installed. If you see Adobe Acrobat extension in the list, then check the Developer mode checkbox. After that, click on Details.
From there, you will see all the permissions that the Adobe Acrobat extension asks for. The three permissions that it asks are as follows:
- Read and change all your data on the websites you visit
- Manage your downloads
- Communicate with cooperating native applications
I believe Communicate with cooperating native applications permission is just to allow the extension to work with the Acrobat reader for Windows. However, managing your Downloads and Reading and changing all data on all the websites you visit is very suspicious for a simple PDF reader extension.
I’d recommend you to just uninstall the extension altogether and make blacklist it. Now, if you don’t know, blacklisting an extension from Chrome stops it from installing on your PC ever. Unless, removed, of course.
Blacklisting Adobe Acrobat Chrome Extension to Prevent it from Installing Automatically
Uninstalling an extension is pretty simple. Just head over to
chrome://extensions and click on the Remove button on Adobe Acrobat. You are done. Blacklisting takes a little work. Here’s how you can do it.
- Download policy_templates.zip and extract it to your Desktop. Open this policy_templates folder that you just extracted and navigate to the windows > adm > en-US folder. Here, you’ll see
Note: I selected the en-US folder because the language that I have on my PC is English (United States). If you are using some other language, select the appropriate folder, otherwise, this won’t work. You can use the alpha-3/ISO 639-2 Code reference if you don’t know what the shortcode for your langauge is.
- Search for
Group Policy Editorin the Start menu and open it. Alternatively, you can also press Windows + R to open Run and type
- Go to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Adminsitrative Templates.
- Right-click on Administrative Templates and click on Add/Remove Templates.
- In the Add/Remove Templates box, press Add button.
- In the file selection box, select the
chrome.admfile you downloaded in the first step. Click on the Close button in the Add/Remove Templates box.
- After adding
chrome.admto Group Policy Editor, you will see a Chrome entry in the Administrative Templates. Click on it. Essentially, go to Google > Google Chrome > Extensions. Look for a Setting named “Configured extensions blacklist“.
- In the Configured extensions blacklist, add the value
efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj. This is the unique key associated with the Adobe Acrobat extension. After doing that, Chrome won’t allow this extension to install automatically ever in the future.
You can verify if all this is working by going to
chrome://policy. Your new policy should be listed there. That’s all. After performing all these steps, Adobe won’t be able to push their telemetry collecting spyware of an extension on your PC.