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“Application Initiation Error” with Adobe installer?

To assist detection of malicious Adobe installers, Adobe seems to have taken the proactive step of not having their Download Manager/Installer respect the Windows certificate store and instead uses certificate pinning (an embedded cert) for it’s connection to download the Adobe installer.

An easy way around this is to download the installer itself by obtaining the redistribution package at https://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/distribution3.html .

I came to this conclusion via a forum post that showed how to perform debug logging of the Adobe Download Manager.

1) Create an empty text file named ADM.trace inside your %temp% directory (usually C:\Users\YourUserID\AppData\Local\Temp\).  The file extension itself is .trace, not .txt or anything else.

2) If your computer is not configured to show file extensions you'll want to enable this to ensure the file extension is .trace and not something such as .trace.txt

3) Run the online installer again (the online installer deletes itself after it's launched, so you'll need to download it again)
When the installer window displays the error obtain the Adobe_ADM.log and Adobe_GDE.log files from the %temp%\Adobe_ADMLogs directory (e.g. C:\Users\YourUserID\AppData\Local\Temp\Adobe_ADMLogs directory)

This revealed the error was related to the above and the Download Manager’s connection to the distribution servers:

10/12/15 13:23:17:430 | [TRACE] |  | ADM |  | WorkflowManager |  |  | 4408 | HTTPConnector::HTTPSend :: After callback : error Type : 0, error code : 0
10/12/15 13:23:17:430 | [WARN] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext | HTTPSend |  | 4408 | Certificate not matching.
10/12/15 13:23:17:430 | [FATAL] |  | ADM |  | WorkflowManager | HTTPConnectorError |  | 4408 | Error occurred while getting application xml: -4 extended error: 0
10/12/15 13:23:17:430 | [DEBUG] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4408 | Showing screen: initErrorScreen

Oh… and for the URL list the ADM debug file also lists:

10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | White listed URLs are
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | get.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | get2.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | aihdownload.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | admdownload.stage.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | admdownload.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | airdownload.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | ardownload.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | ardownload2.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | download.macromedia.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | fpdownload.macromedia.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | fpdownload2.macromedia.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | fpdownload.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | fpdownload2.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | platformdl.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | platformdl-stage.corp.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | wwwimages2.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | wwwimages.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | wwwimages.stage.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | wwwimages2.stage.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | dlmping.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | dlmping2.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | dlmping3.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | dlmping4.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | get3.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | get3.stage.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | adobetag.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | promotion.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | stats.adobe.com
10/12/15 13:40:41:916 | [INFO] |  | ADM |  | ApplicationContext |  |  | 4196 | sstats.adobe.com
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