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While I came to this site from researching whether inactive (or flattened) PDF documents could contain viruses and have come across this link in this site, it does not answer my question.

I need to devise a strategy to flatten PDF documents to prevent active fields to inflict any harm. So, could a flattened PDF document still contain viruses and would these viruses become active when the document is opened?

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    Actually, the answers do also answer this question. If the PDF reader has a vulnerability, then it doesn't matter if the PDF is flattened or has active fields or not.
    – schroeder
    Jan 14, 2020 at 9:52
  • So, the best strategy would be, regardless of whether the document is flattened or has active fields, make sure it goes through an anti-virus, correct?
    – gtludwig
    Jan 14, 2020 at 10:10
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    Well, the whole collection of protections, depending on the threat: AV, sandboxing, patching the PDF reader. There are tools that will re-write the PDF to only include the text content that should also remove any malware code in the PDF, too.
    – schroeder
    Jan 14, 2020 at 10:16

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