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Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

mi2g issued a press release for the Red Cross

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Thursday, 30 December 2004

Rob Rosenberger OUR LONGTIME READERS know about a firm called mi2g. They made the news again — with a press release telling everyone to support Red Cross efforts to help victims of the recent tsunamis.

An inter­na­tional re­lief ef­fort spear­headed by a U.S. presi­dent just didn't go far enough for "the world leader in digi­tal risk." They had to go and issue their own press release.
Vmyths will leave the tsu­nami cover­age to MTV — and we'll leave the Red Cross pub­li­city cam­paign to mi2g.

McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, Sophos, TruSecure, MessageLabs, and many other computer security firms failed to chime in with their own press releases. We don't yet know if any of them support the international relief effort. Only mi2g cared enough to officially voice their concern to everyone on earth.

I don't want to sound callous, but — good grief, people, the first-world nations need to get their priorities straight! Cyber-war and cyber-terrorism will someday plague the only planet we call home. Let me quote McAfee principal computer scientist Jaisook Rho and McAfee VP Terry C. Vickers Benzel and McAfee manager Richard J. Feiertag in a letter they sent to the U.S. president:

"Our nation is at grave risk of a cyber attack that could devastate the national psyche and economy more broadly than did the September 11th attack... Fast and resolute mitigating action is needed to avoid national disaster."

You hear that, folks? A horrifying UN-natural "disaster" looms ahead of us. We need to act NOW. The physical terrorism we saw on 9/11, and Mother Nature's terrorism last week, pales when you compare it to what will ultimately happen to the United States.

...Okay, okay, enough sarcasm. Let's get back to mi2g. Their press release urges everyone to make a "cash or credit card donation" so the Red Cross can buy "vital relief supplies." Do you know what this means?

It means an international relief effort spearheaded by a U.S. president just didn't go far enough for mi2g. They had to go and issue their own press release.

I bashed Russ Cooper (TruSecure) after the 9/11 terrorist attacks because it's not his job to lecture to computer security experts on the topic of post-traumatic stress disorder. Go here and here if you want to read my coldhearted columns. Those observations apply equally to mi2g, which bills itself as "the world leader in digital risk." It's not their job to issue a press release for the International Red Cross.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait for mi2g to issue a press release on global warming and American obesity and human cloning and abortion and personal gun ownership and the resurgence of polio in Nigeria.

I said it before and I'll say it again: "we need to take control of our emotional urge to send out urgent email pleas" and press releases. Can you imagine if every computer security firm issued a press release and spammed their customers every time something big happened in the news?

IT TAKES A lot of effort to say "Vmyths won't issue a press release to urge the world to donate to an international relief effort." But if we can take such a coldhearted stance, then so can the rest of the computer security world.

Vmyths will leave the tsunami coverage to MTV — and we'll leave the Red Cross publicity campaign to mi2g.