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Truth about computer security hysteria
Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

NTBLOODTRAQ

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Thursday, 13 September 2001 As read by the author (MP3) OUR PR AGENT pleaded with me[1] for an expansion of our charter:
Hoax virus alerts spread because good people want to help. "What a terrifying calamity. I'd better hit the 'forward to all' button..."
We need to take control of our emotional urge to send out urgent email pleas.
I stood in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York and watched the World Trade Center disappear into a shroud of fire and ash. I am still crying over what I witnessed... I normally would not make such a request of y'all, but in a case like this I think it is crucial. Is it possible for you to please send out a request to the subscribers of the ... e-mailing lists to please get in touch with their local Red Cross chapters ASAP?
It pained me to refuse his request. I turned him down because (a) we fight virus hysteria, not physical terrorism; (b) MTV covered the disaster far better than we ever could; and (c) Russ Cooper (TruSecure) already asked the NTBUGTRAQ discussion group to take part in a blood drive.

Hmmm. TruSecure's "surgeon general" pitched a plea for the Red Cross. {sniff} I smell irony.

But hey, perhaps I can spare a few electrons in a column. I speak for everyone at Vmyths when I say "we mourn for the victims." Give blood, give money, give antivirus software, give whatever you can to the Red Cross. And stay tuned to NTBUGTRAQ for future blood drives. 'Nuff said.

Physical terrorism affected Vmyths far more than cyber-terrorism ever could. The attack stranded the wives & children of both our editor-at-large and our advertising wonk. It affected me, too — I'll file my columns from a remote location for the next 4-6 weeks. (I secretly work for the CIA if you didn't know it.)

So there you go. I now join the hundreds of mailing lists & columnists who wrote about something way beyond their scope of influence. Vmyths also prays for peace in the Gaza region and we strive for the eradication of polio & muscular dystrophy. Who knows? We might even formulate a stance on abortion someday.

Okay, let me spell it out for you in case you missed my point. Hoax virus alerts spread because good people want to help. "What a terrifying [computing or terrorism] calamity. I'd better hit the 'forward to all' button." I don't know about you, but I'd run out of O+ if I heeded every email request to give blood — and I'd run out of bandwidth if I heeded every email request to update my antivirus software.

We need to take control of our emotional urge to send out urgent email pleas. I admit it took a lot of effort to turn down our own PR agent;[1] it took even more effort to announce my heartless decision. But if I can do it, then so can you.

Vmyths will stick to virus hysteria. We'll leave the terrorism coverage to MTV — and we'll leave the blood drives to NTBUGTRAQ.