MS Office Targeted; Office Apps Reviewed; The Perfect IT Person

By eweek  |  Posted 2006-08-14 Print this article Print

Opinion: Hackers are hitting Microsoft office at an alarming rate; eWEEK Labs tests out three online application suites; the image of the perfect IT person evolves.

The methods are different, but the objectives are the same: economic and social disruption. The would-be bombers caught last week succeeded in adding contact lens solution, hair gel and other toiletries to the list of banned substances on airplanes. Thankfully, the terrorists were thwarted and no lives were lost, but the larger effect is to make people think twice about flying, or traveling at all.

Similarly, we might be close to the point where corporations might decide to stop using certain software, such as Microsoft Office, for example, when working on or transmitting their most sensitive data. Malicious hackers are hitting Office at an alarming rate with zero-day attacks that allow a PC to be compromised and its incoming and outgoing data put under surveillance, reports eWEEK Senior Writer Ryan Naraine.

Evidence suggests that these types of attacks are aiming higher than Microsoft or whatever corporate network is infiltrated at random. If, as Naraine reports, corporate espionage is indeed behind the rash of Office viruses and specific businesses are being targeted, then the security game has changed significantly. CIOs have to start thinking carefully about not only who has access to data, but what data their users can carry around with them.

Web-based office applications such as JotSpot are beginning to show traction in many businesses, but are they a viable alternative—that is, ones that dont invite training, compatibility and productivity nightmares? Not quite, says eWEEK Labs Senior Writer Anne Chen, who this week looks at three online application suites—ThinkFree Office, GOffice and AjaxLaunch. While there are many features to like, no single suite can put it together like MS Office, OpenOffice or WordPerfect can.

Security and software infrastructure are just two line items IT managers must think about every day. That would seem enough for one job, but the demands on IT professionals are growing well beyond technology and support. Today, writes eWEEK Staff Writer Deborah Rothberg, the new "IT guy" must be skilled in finance and other areas of the business as well as knowledgeable about the effects of globalization.

Contact eWeek Editor Scot Petersen at

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

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