After more than six months of testing, Adobe Systems' new software update system is ready for prime time and will debut next week, according to the company's latest security advisory.

Adobe's (NASDAQ: ADBE) Reader and Acrobat applications have been plagued for years by a series of zero-day vulnerabilities and miscellaneous bugs that hackers have routinely exploited to access company networks and spread malware.

In response, Adobe is rolling out a new updater service for all Adobe and Reader users to deliver timely security updates directly to users rather than requiring customers to independently track and monitor when new security improvements and releases are available.

Users can set up the system for immediate download and installation once the updates are released, or can choose for updates to be downloaded automatically but installed when they choose.

Adobe officials said its initial updates will include fixes for Adobe Reader 9.3.1 for Windows, Mac, and Unix, Acrobat 9.3.1 for Windows and Mac, and Reader 8.2.1 and Acrobat 8.2.1 for Windows and Mac.

The company said it has been testing the updating system with select customers since October.

New malware threat

The new service and security fixes for Reader and Acrobat will be delivered on Tuesday -- the same day as Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) next monthly round of its Patch Tuesday updates, when Microsoft is expected to issue more than two dozen patches for a number of its most-used applications.

Hackers have had a field day infiltrating sites and enterprise databases through a number of vulnerabilities in Reader, Acrobat and Microsoft's Internet Explorer software.

As it turns out, Adobe this week also warned users to be on the lookout for a new PDF attack threat that uses social engineering tactics to trick users into launching malware-infected files.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.