“Cybercriminals threaten us all in 2007!”

I really hope people take a look with a critical eye at this article featured prominently in Yahoo’s headlines. It’s all about the terrible risks we all face next year because of sophisticated and ruthless hackers. It quotes one expert after another, each offering a grimmer and more sensationalist/alarmist scenario.

Who are these experts? Two are with Trend Micro and one is from McAffee. And what do these companies do? They make a living by scaring us into buying increasingly expensive security solutions. They are the ones who are always quoted when a new virus hits, whipping up as much fear as possible.

Internet threats are real and we all need anti-spyware and virus protection. But this isn’t news. It is pure public relations, and a damned good piece of work at that. The only ones quoted are those who directly and significantly profit with every new nervous reader. It’s a coup, especially with it landing in the little headlines box on Yahoo’s home page. As journalism, however, it truly sucks. Never is it mentioned that those quoted stand to gain by the perception of cyberthreats. There is no balance anywhere. I especially liked this quote:

“The attacks are becoming more sophisticated,” said Dave Rand of Internet security firm Trend Micro. “It’s all about making money. And they’re making a lot of it,” he told Reuters.

Yes, they certainly are. Reuters should be embarrassed.

The Discussion: 7 Comments

Well said Richard. Very well said.

December 12, 2006 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

And chocolate does not cause acne, said the big Hershey’s study.

December 12, 2006 @ 5:16 pm | Comment

And it is only even theoretically relevant to PC users. Buy a Mac and you never need worry about viruses or crappy Microsoft security holes.

December 12, 2006 @ 6:37 pm | Comment

McAffee. heh.

McAffee is also owned by Symantec. You know, the good people of Norton Internet Security.

December 12, 2006 @ 11:34 pm | Comment

And god knows, Norton wouldn’t profit from articles like this. Right.

December 12, 2006 @ 11:51 pm | Comment

How about this one?

Their scare tactics resemble some of those used by the US government to paint China as the new “Evil Empire”.

December 13, 2006 @ 4:06 am | Comment

Besides, macs are cute too!

December 13, 2006 @ 4:30 am | Comment

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