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Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

mi2g plays the ''voice of sanity'' card

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Saturday, 13 November 2004

Rob Rosenberger VMYTHS HAS EXPOSED the antics of a firm known as "mi2g" since 1999. We maintain a hysteria roll call resource on them.

The folks at mi2g rely on hys­teria to stir up free pub­li­city. But their latest press re­lease makes them sound like a voice of sanity...

Among other things, mi2g is famous for documenting a non-existent NATO-Serbia cyberwar, a non-existent Israeli-Palestinian cyberwar, and a non-existent China-Taiwan cyberwar. mi2g also predicted devastating cyber-attacks would take place on the anniversary of 9/11. When it looked like America would re-invade Iraq, mi2g issued a press release warning cyber-terrorists would try to cripple America & Britain with remote-controlled "SCADA attacks."

mi2g relies on hysteria to stir up free publicity. They love to associate hackers with real terrorists, and many reporters out there have a fetish for this kind of tripe. mi2g gives them the quotes they need for a juicy story.

But a veiled press release on 10 November makes mi2g sound like a voice of sanity.

"In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in USA three years ago," it begins, "the global media has been awash with hysteria and speculation over the threat of cyber terrorism." Ironically, mi2g has been at the forefront of this hysteria and speculation.

"Although some research reports and experts," including mi2g's research reports and their own CEO-- oops, let's start over.

"Although some research reports and experts have raised fears of cyber assault to the point where radical hackers have been suggested to have the capability to bring entire countries to their knees overnight, there is a high level of scepticism within executive decision makers in business and government in regard to the validity of such claims," mi2g declared. How true!

We at Vmyths helped to instill this skepticism among decision makers. Perhaps mi2g wants to usurp our accomplishments?

"The mi2g Intelligence Unit has investigated the arguments behind the cyber terrorism point of view over two years," the press release said. Contrast this with the experts at Vmyths who have investigated mi2g's cyber-terror hysteria for over five years now-- oops, let's start over.

"The mi2g Intelligence Unit has investigated the arguments behind the cyber terrorism point of view over two years," the press release said. "To imagine that national utilities such as water, electricity and gas and other critical infrastructure could be brought down by cyber terrorists is not probable, without using some physical assistance and insider help. So, remote cyber terrorism is not a high probability threat at present," mi2g asserted.

Does mi2g founder D.K. Matai hold a Ph.D., or doesn't he?
In a bizarre twist, Lon­don's Im­perial Col­lege will neither con­firm nor deny they be­stowed a Ph.D. on mi2g founder D.K. Matai. Sources who at­ten­ded mi2g's lec­tures over the years claim they were led to be­lieve Matai holds a doc­toral de­gree.

The above statement marks a full-blown contradiction for mi2g. Two years ago they urgently declared "the sophistication of organized cyber terrorism groups has been rising significantly... The critical national infrastructure of NATO member countries including the US and UK is ultimately driven by a network of SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) systems, PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) and DCS (Distributed Control Systems). These are likely to be the next major conduits for remote attack, which could disrupt power stations, water and sewage treatment plants as well as major communication and transportation hubs."

WAIT, IT GETS better. mi2g's new press release said "there is no conclusive evidence to suggest there has ever been an intended cyber attack carried out by enemy forces which took out a large section of the power grid."

Early last year, though, mi2g founder & CEO D.K. Matai blabbed to The Guardian that "during the Nato-Serbia war in 1999," NATO troops launched "blended [virtual and physical] attacks on Serbia's telephone and power utilities..."

In its new press release, mi2g "believes that we will continue to hear various 'what if' scenarios from experts and non-experts alike," including from mi2g's CEO-- oops, let's start over.

In its new press release, mi2g "believes that we will continue to hear various 'what if' scenarios from experts and non-experts alike, and decision makers will wonder what to worry about next and how to prioritise those threats. The worst that can happen by way of very high probability is what we have already faced — eMail borne and network spreading malware, identity theft scams, DDoS attacks and malicious data modification through covert and overt attacks."

In other words, we can expect more of the same ol' same ol'.

So! Does this new press release signal a turnaround for mi2g? Or should we expect more of the same ol' same ol' from them?

I really do hope mi2g turns over a new leaf someday, but the conclusion of this press release implies they'll foment hysteria for the foreseeable future. It quotes Matai as saying "we have entered an era of sustained digital attacks from radicals, criminals and zealots, who will be difficult to contain and to deal with at the consumer and small to medium size enterprise level... In the years to come, government intervention to deal with cyber warfare is imperative. It is no longer a question of if but when."

mi2g ended their voice-of-sanity press release on an ominous note. "The present threat level of a terrorist digital attack that causes severe loss of life is still low to medium but likely to rise in profile to medium and then to high, in the coming three to five year horizon."

Enjoy your tap water & electricity while it lasts, folks. So says the newfound voice of sanity.

SPEAKING OF MI2G... Their website claims Matai was "developing simulations for his PhD at Imperial College" waaay back in 1995, and a press release in 1999 said Matai was "in the process of submitting his Ph.D. thesis."

The con­clu­sion of mi2g's press re­lease im­plies they'll foment hys­teria for the fore­see­able future.
Enjoy your tap water & elec­tri­city while it lasts, folks. So says the new­found voice of sanity...

Sources who attended mi2g's lectures over the years claim they were led to believe Matai holds a doctoral degree, and an unconfirmed rumor says mi2g led "Queen's Award" judges to believe the same thing. mi2g certainly implies it in their publicity materials.

So we contacted Imperial College and asked a simple question — "did Duwaker Matai ever receive a Ph.D. from your college?"

In a bizarre twist, Imperial College will neither confirm nor deny they bestowed a doctoral degree on mi2g's founder & CEO. Student Records assistant Sonja Tengwall told Vmyths "I have spoken to my colleague regarding your request for an education verification for Duwaker Matai. Unfortunately we can not provide you with information regarding Duwaker Matai without written consent from him."

I don't make this stuff up, folks. Imperial College needs Matai's written consent before they can reveal if they ever gave him a sheepskin.

You realize the implication here, don't you? I could claim a Ph.D. from Matai's alma mater — and no one could prove me wrong without my written consent! "Vmyths editor Rob Rosenberger has earned a Doctorate of Skepticism from London's Imperial College after he successfully defended his thesis on 'Why No One Should Take mi2g Or Its Founder At Face Value'..."

mi2g didn't return our phone call when we asked them to clarify Matai's education status. Nor have they replied to our emails. Go figure.

mi2g has threatened to sue Vmyths, so I'll wrap up with our now-standard disclaimer. "Vmyths stands by its criticisms of mi2g & its founder. Howeverl we pride ourselves for an industry-leading 'corrections and clarifications' page. Please write to VeaCulpa@Vmyths.com to contest our claims & accusations; please write to Letters@Vmyths.com to rebut our opinions & criticisms."

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