Yes, PDFs Can Have Viruses: How To Stay Safe (2024)

Here's how you can detect PDFs with viruses. Learn today how to stay away from a malicious PDF document
Last updated on:
December 29, 2023
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You might have encountered a PDF document that seems suspicions, and so, you’re wondering if it can even have a virus.

The answer is that, yes, PDF documents can also have viruses, regardless of what some people may say about them.

It’s important to know how you can stay away from malicious PDF documents, so this is what we’ll cover in this post.

Can PDF files have viruses?

Yes, PDF files can also carry viruses. Downloading them implies the risk of infecting your device, so you have to be careful with which PDFs to trust.

PDFs are one of the most used file formats, and you have to be really careful with which files you actually want to trust to download.

How do I know if PDF has virus?

To scan if a PDF has viruses, you can use a file scanning app. Chrome, Gmail, and other popular apps already have this feature to prevent you from downloading a PDF which is most likely to be a virus.

You can also go to the Chrome Extension Store and look for a ‘File Scanner’ so ti hold you from downloading PDFs that are actually malware.

How to know if a PDF has a virus

Tips to avoid malicious PDF files

Here are a couple of things you can do to avoid virus PDFs:

  • Scan the PDF before downloading (even using a Chrome extension);
  • Download & Open PDFs only if you trust the sender;
  • Disable JavaScript (JS) on your PDF reader;
  • Set your PDF reader to stop from opening on start-up;
  • Find & Use an antivirus that suits your preferences.

At the end of the day, the best way to keep yourself away from PDF files with viruses is to think twice whether you really have to download a file or not.

Always stay away from websites & PDF files that look strange or risky! Better safer than sorry.


Can I get a virus from a PDF on my iPhone/iPad?

No, Apple iPhone & iPad devices are built in a way that it is impossible to get viruses. You're safe with PDFs.

Can opening a PDF file cause a virus?

Yes. If a PDF file carries a virus and you open it, there's a high risk of getting that virus.

How can I make sure a PDF is virus free?

The #1 way to make sure if a PDF has viruses is to disable JavaScript within your PDF reader. This way, you'll avoid any malicious PDFs.

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