Adobe announced the next major release of Adobe Reader will get a Protected Mode. The company explains on its blog that this new security feature is a sandboxing technology based on Microsoft's Practical Windows Sandboxing technique. The technology will protect users by sandboxing all "write" calls to mitigate the risk of exploits seeking to install malware on the user's computer.
Scheduled for inclusion in the next major version release of Adobe Reader, Protected Mode is a sandboxing technology based on Microsoft’s Practical Windows Sandboxing technique. It is similar to the Google Chrome sandbox and Microsoft Office 2010 Protected Viewing Mode. Adobe has been working closely with David LeBlanc, Dan Jump and other members of the Microsoft Office security team, Nicolas Sylvain and the Chrome team at Google, as well as third-party consultancies and other external stakeholders to leverage their sandboxing knowledge and experience. We greatly appreciate the input and support from all of our partners and friends in the community who helped with this effort.
With Adobe Reader Protected Mode enabled (it will be by default), all operations required by Adobe Reader to display the PDF file to the user are run in a very restricted manner inside a confined environment, the “sandbox.” Should Adobe Reader need to perform an action that is not permitted in the sandboxed environment, such as writing to the user’s temporary folder or launching an attachment inside a PDF file using an external application (e.g. Microsoft Word), those requests are funneled through a “broker process,” which has a strict set of policies for what is allowed and disallowed to prevent access to dangerous functionality.