Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

One of the very first things that I would be concerned about is your print-to-PDF technology. I'd be concerned that it was downloaded from a questionable site.


From my computer, I had to print out a PDF file. When I printed, two pages of porn came out before the PDF file. I hope other info that I have faxed to others didn't include those pages. How could this be? Yes, I've looked at porn sites, why lie? This did happen too though. Not funny.

In this excerpt from Answercast #62, I look at a case where extra, embarrassing material is printed out with a PDF file.

Extra pages printing

You're right it isn't funny - and I can think of basically two things that come to mind.

One is: I'm not sure where the driver you got for printing to PDF came from. One of the very first things I would be concerned about is your print-to-PDF technology wherever it comes from (if it's not originally a part of the operating system, or in the case of Chrome, part of the browser). I'd be concerned that it was downloaded from a questionable site - and included this additional "feature" along with the actual print-to-PDF functionality.

The other piece of this is that I would be concerned about the PDF itself. I don't know where you got the PDF file. Where it came from and what it was supposed to contain? It is possible that the PDF itself came with that additional information up front. It's difficult to say.

Possible malware

There are many possibilities here, but those are the two things that I would consider first, especially if you are in the habit of surfing these kinds of sites.

You do need to be extra careful about malware of various flavors on your machine:

  • Definitely, scenarios that allow rogue printer drivers to be installed;

  • Other forms of malware;

And again, depending on where the PDF itself came from, that's a place to be concerned about as well.

Article C5926 - October 17, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Lance Kuhns
October 17, 2012 4:31 PM

The PDF file was an innocent listing of peoples owner and guest car numbers meant for me to file at home... I was hacked two weeks ago, now repaired.. bothers me, as I don't have any need to have any porn printed...wondering if I clicked something by accident, I would never send garbage as this was to others. Hopefully it only came to me somehow the computer attached it... NOT I...LOL.

October 19, 2012 9:04 AM

I use the PDF reader Fox It, and have never had problems with it. I always read the PDF files before doing anything with them.

John O'Meara
October 19, 2012 9:09 AM

Another explanation might be that the images were already in the print queue. Printing the ,pdf simply triggered sending them to the printer. If you recognize the images as something that might be on your computer, then that is a likely explanation.

Mark J
October 19, 2012 9:43 AM

This problem has nothing to do with the reader. Foxit Reader would have also shown the porn as it was in the .pdf document itself.

Mark J
October 19, 2012 9:47 AM

That sounds like a plausible scenario, especially since the porn printed before the .pdf file. I've had that happen occasionally, but in my case, not with porn ;-)

October 19, 2012 10:03 AM

A club I belong to send its newsletter as a pdf file.

I copied (Ctl-C) a single page of jokes and pasted (Ctl-V) it into my word processor.

When I looked at the page in my word processor (MS Office Word), there were two more pages than the newsletter. These pages contained information that had nothing to do with the page I copied.

The person who sent the nl was unaware of the additional embedded info. and could not explain how it got there.

BTW is was NOT porno.

October 19, 2012 1:19 PM

One thing to do is clear the printers cache before sending anything to get printed. I do this as a matter of habit JIC. Different folks require different strikes to do this but it should be fairly easy.

A Richter
October 20, 2012 1:20 AM

The PDF itself may have been contaminated; malware hidden in documents has been on the rise. One ought to scan all downloaded files; it might be worth doing even now, just to check. Also, the originating system may have been hacked - come to think of it, attaching porn to every PDF makes for a good prank as far as the hacker is concerned. It is fun!

October 20, 2012 1:46 AM

I've had a different kind of experience. I don't visit porno sites. Yet, at office, when I browsed and read sites about technology, information, and the like, if I closed the page, I found one or two pages of pornograpy behind them. When I informed this to IT Admin, he installed a porno filter, and thereafter the problem never returned.

What is shocking me was that earlier people used to go after porno sites. Nowadays, they are after us!

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