The Weekly Geek: Hackers who have nothing to do with Angelina Jolie


As an arrogant Mac user, I generally laugh in the face of bad news about viruses and security-compromising exploits. Unfortunately, this week I was forced off my high horse when I heard that two of the major applications I use everyday — Adobe Acrobat and Excel — have reportedly been compromised on all platforms. Time to cue up that Debbie Downer sound effect.

Earlier in the week, news broke that Adobe Reader and Acrobat were under a serious virus threat. If you become a victim, hackers (none of whom are likely as tasty as Angelina Jolie in the classic 1995 film) can potentially take control of your computer and get their paws on your personal information. The worst part — the fix is still weeks away, with Adobe’s promise that an update will go out on March 11. The company suggests disabling JavaScript in the program (which is quite easy to do), but you may want to adopt a new application until the 11th.

Angelina Jolie: unfortunately not involved with the new hacking issues

If that wasn’t crappy enough, a new security hole was announced for Excel just a few days ago. This one affects all versions of the program dating back to 2000, and again, both PC and Mac iterations are vulnerable. The danger is about the same: The exploit would allow a hacker to get into your computer and steal your info.

I was the victim of ID theft once upon a time, and I’ll tell you, it isn’t pretty. There’s no expected date for the Excel fix (though Microsoft is reportedly working on one), so again, be careful what you click on.

Man, whatever happened to the good old days when you actually had to do something fun in order to get a computer virus? Remember that infamous “nude picture of Anna Kournikova” that was really a virus?

Anna Kournikova: Not sending nude photos of herself around the Internet to infect your computer

Or the Jennifer Lopez version? On second thought, maybe that wasn’t such a good thing — at all.

So, keep your computers safe ladies. Always surf with discretion, and don’t click on any weirdo links. If you feel the need to look at any pictures of lovely tennis stars, just make sure they’re on a respectable site.

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