Truth About Computer Security Hysteria
Goner virus/worm (December 2001 hysteria)CATEGORY: Overblown computer security threats
Category: mass hysteria about a real threat (a Type 3 hystericane
Media reports now warn of a rapidly spreading "Goner" virus. Reuters, News.com, Wired, The Register, and other news organizations have already posted breaking stories on their websites. CNN is running two related stories on their cable channels. Antivirus firms have tossed press releases and customer email alerts into the mix, and they've dispatched "talking heads" to conduct satellite TV interviews.
Vmyths predicts this virus will generate intense media hysteria for the next 12-36hrs for two important reasons:
This "breaking virus story" should prove popular with local & national radio/TV news anchors, who can easily tell people how to detect it with their own eyeballs. CNN, for example, shows an "eye-hand coordination video" while the news anchor tells viewers what to look for. The story has already made it to the top of technology news sites, and it may temporarily overtake the war in Afghanistan as the top story on some general news sites.
Panicky users may overwhelm antivirus websites as they try to update their software. Antivirus vendors will do everything in their power to support customers, but they still can't provide updates all at once to the entire planet. Click here to learn other things you should remember when virus hysteria strikes.
Watch for MessageLabs to earn valuable free media exposure for this virus. The firm is a media darling because they can provide realtime virus data realtime virus data to reporters who crave numbers. (Many popular antivirus products by default delete the data they generate.) Ironically, MessageLabs fired off an urgent email alert to warn their customers they need to do — nothing.
This virus surfaced one day after the Office of Homeland Security again warned Americans to brace for terrorist attacks. OHS fearmonger Richard "digital Pearl Harbor" Clarke (president Bush's #1 cyber-fearmonger) made headlines on CNN because he mentioned computer viruses during a speech today.
Watch for corporate email networks to clog up on Wednesday with warnings about this new virus. Vmyths set up a special email address so you can forward chain-letter virus alerts to us. Your effort will help us detect changing trends in virus hysteria. Please forward the verbatim chain letter to HoaxFYI@Vmyths.com. Emails sent to this account will remain strictly confidential (we promise not to tattle on your boss if he got duped).
As always, you should obtain expert advice from experts. Stay calm. Stay reasoned. And stay tuned to Vmyths.
Last updated: 2001/12/4