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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Form 486 crisis

Today I got two more reasons to be hacked off that the online Form 486 is supports only Adobe Reader 5. I've complained in the past about this, but it just keeps getting worse.

First, I was browsing the IRS site, and I was told that my creaky old version of Adobe Reader did not have all the features I would need to see the form I was looking at. This goes beyond the little notice that I get every time I open a PDF, suggesting that I upgrade. When I clicked the "OK" button in the dialog box at the IRS site, it took me to the Adobe site so I could upgrade. So now I have to choose between USAC forms and IRS forms.

Then came the really bad news. I opened up the latest issue of NetworkWorld magazine, and read that there is a cross-scripting vulnerability in all versions of Adobe Reader up to 7.0.8. So if I click on a malicious link, hackers can use Adobe Reader to install software on and take control of my computer delete all my files, use my computer to relay spam or do whatever they want. Adobe is releasing patches, but not for me.

What I feared back in August has happened: With the release of version 8, Adobe is no longer supporting version 5. So I can't patch my computer. And if I want to downgrade a new computer to version 5, I'll have to hope that I have that version on some old CD, because it's no longer available at Adobe's Web site.

It's time. The old online 486 has to go now. I should not have to choose between the security of my computers and being able to use the online 486.

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