Q&A: Adobe's Brad Arkin on dealing with security


Adobe has been under the security spotlight recently, having to patch various vulnerabilities, some considerably more serious than others.

Given around 98 per cent of machines run some kind of Adobe software, it comes as no surprise that cyber criminals go after the firm's products.

So what is Adobe doing to improve its systems and what is it like working on the security in some of the most widely used products in the technological world?

We spoke to Brad Arkin, the software giant's director for product security and privacy, about how his team has coped with some serious issues in the past and what his plans are for the future.

How seriously does Adobe, as a whole, take security?

We understand that the ubiquity of our software implies a responsibility that we feel very keenly in order to protect our users from the threats that are out there.

Everybody at the organisation understands the priority that we need to address security in order to protect our users against what is happening.

One of the initial reasons given by Apple for not allowing Flash on iPhone was because of security. Was it justified in saying that?

The Flash Player/iPhone topic is more of a business issue. There may have been claims made about security - that's not the real problem there.

From a security perspective, Flash Player because it is ubiquitous software it's definitely in the spotlight right now, but when you compare it to other widespread products, so things like Apple Preview, QuickTime, Real Player, all of these have the potential for security vulnerabilities that attackers can leverage. They are all getting attention, it is not just Flash Player.

Having said that, we are not happy with where Flash is today, that is why we are doing so much work to make it more robust.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.