Don’t look at this picture

goodbyeSorry, it’s too late. The image at left is me saying “Cheers! Your computer is toast!”

It’s finally happened — according to Slashdot and numerous other sources around the Net, images can now be used to deliver viruses and/or compromise your computer. Just looking at a picture, even a cute picture of me drinking an excellent merlot in Seattle’s Portage Bay, can send all your precious data into never-never land.

So apparently, if passwords don’t kill us, pictures will.

Are you ready to live in an imageless Internet? Most Web sites use images not just as illustrations, but also as a fundamental means of getting around the site (Word Munger’s a bit of an exception — other than the flashy logo, everything’s done with Cascading Style Sheets). Are you ready for imageless e-mail (actually, I am. I can’t stand fancy-schmancy formatted e-mails)?

It appears that for now, the affected programs are limited to Microsoft Windows, but before we Mac users begin to gloat, I suspect it’s only a matter of time before such exploits are found for our computers as well. This battle against viruses and hackers is only just beginning. By creating a medium as complex as life itself, we may have condemned ourselves to dealing with the all the same maladies and dysfunctions in our virtual lives that we must also suffer in “real” life.

Now I need another glass of merlot.

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