Adobe installs a software called Adobe Updater with many of its products. The updater will automatically connect to the Internet to check for updates for supported and installed Adobe products. Adobe Updater, that's the official name of the application, will be installed in its own folder on the system.
Most users probably do not mind the regular automatic update checks but some might prefer to update Adobe software products manually. This is important in business environments where patches are extensively tested before applied to client machines.
It is actually not a big problem to disable Adobe Updater if an Internet connection is available. All that needs to be done is to execute the Adobe_Updater.exe file that is located in the Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Updater6 directory on the hard drive. The application will perform an update check and notify the user about updates. The updates won't be installed however until the user clicks on the Download And Install Updates button.
A click on Preferences will load the configuration screen shown in the above screenshot. Unchecking the "Automatically check for Adobe updates" box will do the trick. Mac OSX users can basically do the same. The location of the Adobe Updater program on their system is /Applications/Utilities/Adobe Utilities/Adobe Updater5/.
Update: Adobe Updater is available as a separate download from the Adobe website. The program has not been updated since 2009, which may indicate that the program is either no longer used by Adobe, or integrated into their software programs by default to make external installations unnecessary.
The updater, according to the product page, fixes "networking problems, "speed and cpu problems", "stability problems" and some Internet Explorer related issues.
The program available for download is only compatible with Adobe Creative Suite 4 software or Creative Suite 4 components. Other Adobe products that are not part of the Suite are not supported.