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I'm running Arch Linux and using Okular for opening PDF files and FBReader for other ebook formats (Epub, Mobi, etc.). Simply put, here's my question: Assuming some of those documents come from unreliable sources and contain malicious code what can I do to mitigate the risk of compromising the system and opening it for invasion (which can be a common occurrence in this country if you even smell like someone who holds opinions the government disapprove of)?

A few more specific questions:

Is just opening the referred files enough to put my setup at serious risk? The user I use for this is on the sudoers list, so, if compromised, it could be used for escalation.

Suppose I only open the files using a more limited user account, would that at least help?

Outside of setting up a virtual machine only for reading (which wouldn't be practical for a few reasons) or using another computer just for that (same thing), is there anything I can do?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Rui F Ribeiro, RalfFriedl, Archemar, DarkHeart, Romeo Ninov Sep 10 '18 at 15:35

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • clamav might be useful in this case! – George Udosen Sep 1 '18 at 17:15
  • firejail – A.B Sep 2 '18 at 0:07
  • You could use some form of 'mandatory access control' - eg SELinux, Apparmor. This would limit the impact the damage if you did open a dodgy file. – DarkHeart Sep 10 '18 at 5:51
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You need antivirus. You can use ClamAV which is an open source antivirus program for detecting trojans, viruses, malware & other malicious threats. This program is an open-source, free and works under these environments:

Debian, RHEL/CentOS, Fedora, Mandriva, Gentoo, openSUSE, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, Slackware, in addition to Windows, OpenVMS, OSX. You can find more information here.

In the manual, CalmAV can scan wide range of files including PDF formats. For your system Arch Linux you can follow these steps to install the program.

The second option is Sophos, this program is not open-source and not free. More information can be reached in here.

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