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Truth about computer security hysteria
Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

Antivirus firms need a Y2K-compliant spellchecker

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Tuesday, 2 November 1999 YESTERDAY'S SLEW OF "Y2K virus" press releases forces us to conclude the obvious -- antivirus firms still use non-Y2K compliant spellchecker programs. I study press releases for typos & grammatical errors as you may know. It's like looking for the "Nina" in a Hirschfeld cartoon. Network Associates issued one yesterday with this fun boo-boo (highlighted):
" 'Microsoft takes security and Y2K very seriously, and with the help of Network Associates, we are providing customers with the information and solutions they require to get them through the millenium successfully,' said Don Jones, Director, Year 2000 Product Management, Microsoft Corporation."
We must conclude the obvious — antivirus firms still use non-Y2K compliant spellchecker programs.
(Note to Jones: see if you can offer Network Associates an O2K upgrade discount.) Trend Micro issued two press releases yesterday with "millennium" spelled wrong. Both blew it right in the headline! The first one: "Special offer of PC-cillin® consumer desktop antivirus software is part of Trend Micro's Global Y2K Internet Content Security Readiness Program for the Millenium crunch." True irony came with the second one's announcement of a y2kvirus.com domain: "Trend Micro Launches Global Y2K Internet Content Security Readiness Program for the Millenium Crunch." Trend later corrected the headlines on their website. (You'll find one original version here.) They didn't do a good job, though — they overlooked the HTML titles and missed one in the body. Oops! It still looks stupid as of today. One question remains a mystery. "Why did these spelling errors appear yesterday?" I haven't noticed it since D-Link issued a press release in early September.
ON A RELATED note: Microsoft didn't join the fearmongers when they hopped on the Y2K virus bandwagon. From a press release issued yesterday: "According to Deborah Willingham, vice president of the Business and Enterprise Division at Microsoft, 'There are certainly malicious hackers who intend to use Y2K as a reason to wreak havoc for vulnerable businesses and consumers. Such viruses, worms and hoaxes can potentially have the most harmful effect on customers as they prepare for Y2K.' "
Why did these spelling errors appear yesterday? Press releases issued in the last six weeks passed muster.
Thumbs up: Redmond asserts antivirus software can protect you from supposed Y2K viruses. I also give Willingham the benefit of the doubt because she uttered the word "hoaxes." It changes the context of her quote. They spelled "millennium" correctly, too. Thumbs down: Microsoft recommends daily antivirus updates. Will they recommend hourly updates starting 29 December? I unabashedly like Microsoft — but I'll whack them upside the head with a 2x4 if they ever recommend hourly updates. I'll go to town on any company if/when they make such an idiotic recommendation. If we ever need to update on an hourly basis, we should turn off the boxes for good and blame it on our addiction to a crippled antivirus theory.