FIX: This document might contain unsafe content

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • Security warnings are a nuisance, but hackers are constantly improving their skills when it comes to infecting people’s devices.
  • Make sure you only run software from the official Adobe page to open your files and that your trust the source.
  • For more useful tips related to PDFs' handling, check out our PDFs Troubleshooting page.
  •  Enhance your troubleshooting expertise and leave no issue unsolved when it comes to your Windows 10 PC with the help of our Windows 10 Errors Hub.
This document might contain unsafe content error

Getting the security warning message This document might contain unsafe content isn’t a nice surprise.

Pop-ups are a nuisance, but as you certainly know, attackers are increasing their creativity when it comes to infecting people’s devices. So, analyzing potentially malicious PDFs or WhatsApp files becomes a necessary task.

Staying ahead of the competition isn’t an easy thing to do, and for that reason, WhatsApp had to introduce the facility of sending documents via its platform. The choice of document formats was initially limited to PDF only.

Anyway, you can now send pretty much any file, such as Word, PDF, Excel, PowerPoint, or ZIP via WhatsApp. So, the company only tries to avoid the spread of malware by displaying such warnings regarding unsafe content threats on both mobile and web.

Below is a quick glance at your next moves after getting this message.

How can I fix WhatsApp’s unsafe content warning?

Quick tip: In order to keep hackers at bay, make sure you only run the official Acrobat Reader software.

Make the right choice before clicking Download

This document might contain unsafe content

  1. Click on the document you want to download.
  2. This will open another window. Here you can see the warning message, which requires your permission to run the file in a trusted mode and the arrow pointing downward, which indicates a download function.
  3. If you’re suspicious about the received file, don’t click Download until using your antivirus to check it out.
  4. If you do click, this will bring up the file manager on your PC. Here you get to choose which folder saves WhatsApp files.

Looking to improve your PC’s security? Check out this article with the best antivirus software available on the market today.

Note: Steps descried above apply on Windows. Maintain awareness about your device’s safety on mobile too by not opening files that seem spams, especially if they come from unknown senders.

While trying to open any of the received documents, you might come across this notification. The message is loud and clear: This document might contain unsafe content. Make sure you trust the sender before you open it.

Unintentionally downloading a malicious attachment can compromise your device’s security. Your security can also be at risk by doing nothing more than opening a shady document.

Keep these in mind the next time you’re tempted to skip over reading these safety notifications.

This warning isn’t WhatsApp exclusive. Remember that PDFs may contain embedded Flash content. Any vulnerability in Flash could be later used to compromise Adobe Reader.

Even more, a PDF file could attempt to launch a dangerous command as long as the user clicked OK. A wrong command easily unleashes hell, so now Adobe has a blacklist that tries to restrict PDF files from launching executable files.

Is this enough to feel safe? It doesn’t seem so, not when getting this Adobe security warning. Now, if you are wondering how to solve this issue, here’s our advice for you.

How can I fix Adobes’s unsafe content warning?

Are you using the official Acrobat Reader?

In order to keep hackers at bay, make sure you only run the official Acrobat Reader software.

As you might know, hackers are quite resourceful when it comes to crafting new and dare we say, creative ways to infect PCs and hiding malware into PDFs is just one of them.

By installing the Acrobat Reader only from the official page you can stop these malicious programs from tampering with your documents. Plus, you get to enjoy the latest version of the software with all the new features and enhancements that come with it.

Get Adobe Acrobat Reader here

Did this PDF come from a reputable source?

PDF Allow button

This document might contain unsafe content doesn’t have to mean that the document is really harmful. Adobe Reader only highlights potential risks and can never tell you whether the PDF contains unsafe content or not.

If the file came from a reputable source and you have no reason to distrust its content, go ahead and just open it. You should see an option such as Allow or the Open button. Click it and you’ll be able to open the PDF in no time.

Allow or Open buttons are missing?

Contact your administrator

If the Adobe warning does not contain the usual Allow or Open buttons, try closing the page. Then, open it again. If the button is still nowhere to be found, your administrator could have completely disabled the feature.

As such, suppressing the security warning isn’t possible in such a case. Click the Close or Cancel button to at least hide the annoying warning. Up next, to access any of the blocked content, contact your administrator for more information.

Do you have any reason to distrust the PDF file?

PDF unsafe content

Still reading? Remember the first advice, when the company or individual who sent the file raised no additional questions? That’s the happiest possible scenario. In case of being unsure, you may need to check the PDF with your antivirus.

So, ensure that you regularly update your antivirus program. Perform frequent system scans to verify if your computer is virus-free and scan previously downloaded PDF files to make sure they aren’t infected either.

This security warning is just one of the many received on a PC and, chances are, you normally click out of it without a second thought. It is irritating, but it’s there to ensure you can identify malware threats.

Are you really willing to keep on ignoring such warnings and eventually putting your personal information at risk? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about errors associated with PDF content

  • How do I remove restrictions from a PDF document?

In order to fix This document restricts some Acrobat features error message, install the original version of Adobe Acrobat and remove the PDF Document Restrictions from the File menu –> Properties -> Document Properties.

  • Why can’t I open PDF attachments in Outlook?

If you’re having troubles viewing PDFs in Outlook, try restarting the app, scan the PDF or run the Windows Update. Since antivirus scanning engines might misinterpret files that can be trusted with potential harmful packages, you can also temporarily disable the antivirus protection.

  • How do I disable this type of warning?

The solve This document is trying to access PDF error message, change the default PDF software to Adobe Acrobat Reader, specify the default behavior for PDF access to websites and adjust the Internet access default behavior for a specific website.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in December 2019 and was revamped and updated in May 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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