Feb 06 2009

Security firm taps into sole survivor mythos

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When security hysteria strikes, you can always count on a vendor to scream “we saved our customers’ lives!” to any reporter who will listen.

Take Bradford Networks, for example. Their barkers issued a press release to brag about a client who didn’t get whacked by Downadup. “Elizabethtown College protects itself from the Conficker/Downadup worm with [Bradford’s] award-winning network access control technology…”

This kind of hype taps into what I call “the sole survivor mythos.” Let’s face it: humans love to hear a spectacular first-person account as told by the only brave soul who lived through his army’s valiant demise or her village’s senseless slaughter. Here, Bradford uses weasel words to promote their client as a sole survivor on an Internet battlefield littered with the dead:

“…the worst computer worm in years … that is running rampant … which has already spread to 15 million PCs worldwide and could double in size … and embeds additional malware for future malicious activities…”

Read the press release and you’d think only Bradford’s customers survived Downadup‘s onslaught. This, despite the fact antivirus firms remain blasé over the global rampage.

“But Rob! Bradford’s tale of survival doesn’t seem to move me.” Exactly — because it’s not a first-person account. But believe me: they’ll learn. “Hey Elizabethtown, would you file this press release for us…?”