In an article that ran on Thursday entitled “Computer Viruses Require Vigilance,” by Seth Davis, there is a paraphrase from Mr. Kevin Nolan essentially saying that “.pdf” files are rarely legitimate, and are likely virus candidates. This is an error that could lead to unreasonable student fear of these documents.
PDF stands for “Portable Document Format,” originally created by Adobe (of Adobe Acrobat fame) to facilitate viewing documents on all computers, whether they run Windows, Mac OS or UNIX. They are now universally used on the World Wide Web to allow all users of all systems to view, print and edit documents.
Saying that it is rare to find a legitimate “.pdf” file is simply a bald-faced lie. These files are the most common ones for any document usually found on the Internet. Every time your computer starts running “Acrobat Reader,” you are viewing a .pdf file. Even RamWeb uses a number of .pdf files, from class syllabi to course catalogues.
While .pdf files can be viruses in disguise, it is important to remember that any filename extension (the three letters after the period) can be a virus. To protect yourself, simply do not download files, web pages or pictures from any unknown source, and keep your anti-virus software up to date.
Jesse C. Owens
Freshman, open option