sábado, 12 de junio de 2010
Adobe Reader and Malware
I was reading that some Windows users, perhaps too upset by what they consider "cultic Microsoft bashing" by different Linux communities, started claiming that the reaction against Adobe Reader was another attempt to praise Penguin software over programs that run natively on Windows.
Nothing can be further from truth. Adobe Reader was nominated the most dangerous software in 2009...but few people are aware of the reasons why. Well, I am talking about inexperienced computer users, the ones that might even own netbooks, but for whom the word "extension" triggers an image of hair artificially made longer instead of something related to computers.
So, let us just say that most computers use Adobe Reader to handle pdf files. Pdf means "portable document file", an open format used to store documents in a rather stable way, so that you can open them in different computers and the files remain unaltered.
Adobe Reader is provided in most driver CDs and DVDs, which explains its preeminent place in many computers. This seems very convenient, except for the fact that malicious code can be introduced into a pdf and then your computer can become a zombie or it can be infected by viruses via pdf reading...under the patient eyes of your antivirus, which, instead of preventing the malware from going rampant, gives it its blessing. Did you know that more computers got infected this way than by USB viruses in 2009?
The response of the company disappointed everyone: Adobe has been extremely slow in releasing heavy-to-download patches and these have been circumvented by hackers easily. To make matters worse for Adobe, its reader is slow to launch and consumes computer resources with the gluttony of a loccust!
Here is where Linux users started mentioning that they do not have those issues because they normally do not use the widespread software (which can also run under Penguin-powered computers) and suggested alternatives, such as Foxit (in Windows) or Okular (in Linux) that, apparently, do not execute dangerous code embedded in the pdf.
I remember I used Foxit in Windows. It is fast and stable and, as most users only require to READ the pdf, not to annotate it, the little program is excellent for the task. In Mandriva, I am more than satisfied with Okular, a program with beautiful pdf navigating features.
Again, dropping Adobe turns into a question of knowledge over comfort. Do you want to protect your computer? If so, ARE YOU WILLING TO LEARN?
Too much of a hassle, you say? Watch this video, then. It is really inspirational. And remember that the more you know about the computer, the more usable it becomes... Your computer can work with you, not against you.
Being a computer user, I grew sick of an OS that tells me I'm stupid (do YOU really want to see this folder? Important files are in here and you will mess them up!) and became fed up with software that claims to take care of threats but doesn't. My journey of learning with Linux has made me see all the possibilities I never dreamed my computer has. Wouldn't you like to exploit all the HIDDEN resources in your system as the people in the video have learned to use their instruments, bodies, and abilities? Linux can help you unleash the potential of your computer, but this power becomes useless if you do not trust yourself and fear from training holds you back. You can learn and free the magic!