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Resources | Hysteria roll call (archive)

Computer Economics, Inc.
Duty status: reassigned to Hysteria Reserves
Summary: The media loves this company because it issued wild guesstimates about the cost of viruses. They sometimes guessed at worldwide damages to an absurdly precise ▒$10 million. Computer Economics, Inc. achieved fame in the media for attaching a variable "$x.7 billion" value to the ILoveYou virus. They wowed the press in 2001 with Code Red damage guesstimates. Then the firm calculated absurdly precise guesstimates of how much damage didn't occur during a computer virus attack.
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Russ Cooper
Duty status: reassigned to Hysteria Reserves
Summary: this self-described "surgeon general of the Internet" is known in media circles as moderator of the NTBUGTRAQ discussion forum. TruSecure later hired him as their "surgeon general" (his actual corporate title). Cooper was quoted widely when he authoritatively predicted the Code Red worm would cause "the meltdown of the Internet." His prediction tanked, so he amended it by saying "the Internet is melting slowly." But then Code Red II came along -- and Cooper felt confident enough to re-predict "the meltdown of the Internet." That prediction tanked, too. He now exhibits the classic symptoms of cognitive dissonance when he discusses his Code Red predictions. The surgeon general of the Internet has used NTBUGTRAQ as a bully pulpit for non-computer security issues such as Red Cross blood drives and how to deal with grief after a major tragedy. (Cooper has been known to forcefully unsubscribe people who believe NTBUGTRAQ should stick to its computer security charter.)
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FutureVision Group, Inc.
Duty status: AWOL (but you'll find them here)
Summary: this bizarre firm grabbed a spotlight in 1998 with 'Blitzkrieg' -- the first omnipotent quantum computer virus capable of resolving Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. The software came with a team of heavily armed ex-Marines (we're not making this up) who could inject the virus by force into any physically isolated computer anywhere on the planet. FutureVision Group went MIA and was presumed dead by the end of 1998. They quietly resurfaced in another state in 1999 and tried to sell Blitzkrieg to the U.S. military as a Y2K virus cure-all. FutureVision Group re-opened their website in 2000 and began promoting their computer virus as an omnipotent security product. The firm tried to profit from the 9/11/01 terrorist attack, but they went AWOL after Vmyths published another exposÚ. They never substantiated their bizarre claims & guarantees; no known objective evidence supports Blitzkrieg's existence. FutureVision Group occasionally threatens to file lawsuits & police complaints against their detractors (including Vmyths).
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DHS National Infrastructure Protection Center
Duty status: reassigned to Hysteria Reserves
Summary: formerly an FBI unit (now a DHS unit), it is in reality the National Internet Protection Center. The agency believes all critical U.S. infrastructures revolve around the Internet, thus they can protect banking, transportation, water, electricity, etc. by protecting computer users from viruses & hacking. Founding director Michael Vatis (a Clinton appointee) turned the agency into his personal publicity machine in 1999-2000. He drove then-FBI NIPC into the ground by the end of 2000 and was quite literally fired. The computer security industry widely regards the agency as inept Keystone Kops, and they've been the subject of multiple Vmyths Virus Hysteria Alerts. DHS NIPC survives largely because (a) they formed a co-dependent relationship with CERT and (b) the mainstream media loves to quote geeks with badges. Lately under the leadership of Ron Dick, a capable FBI agent (now retired) who hoped to save the sinking ship he inherited. His efforts were seen as too little, too late. DHS NIPC still manipulates the press on occasion, but now they do it to justify their existence. Vmyths surmises DHS may chisel away at NIPC until only its lucrative presidential charter remains. (Click on the link for a more detailed summary.)
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Steve Gibson
Duty status: currently on leave
Summary: A part-time security messiah who runs his own fan club. Popular with reporters because of his fire-and-brimstone statements. Gibson declared antivirus software 'dead' in 1992 (killed by an unstoppable 'mutation engine' virus). In 2000, he released a copyright-violation tool for his fans' benefit. In 2001, he discovered an ancient lurking horror known as "Unix Berkeley raw sockets." Gibson is now fixated on the dangers of raw sockets; he sees the threat everywhere. He's currently on a crusade to save the world from Microsoft's new Windows XP operating system, which will destroy the Internet because it includes native support for raw sockets (like all other major operating systems). Gibson & his fans await the coming of his (latest) predicted armageddon.
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Anti-Virus Headquarters Inc.
Duty status: dishonorable discharge
Summary: AVHQ opened its website in January 1998 with "the latest, most up-to-date Anti-Virus test information... We pull no punches in our anti-virus tests and reviews and when we find poor performance we will let you know about it fast!" But the webmaster went out of his way to hide the fact he worked for Cheyenne (the antivirus division of Computer Associates). Cheyenne's software came out as a winner in every single test, and the links to other sites favored Cheyenne and its technology partner, iRiS. The website disappeared soon after Vmyths published an exposÚ. (Vmyths acquired the avhq.org domain in November 2000 and released it in June 2004.)
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VirusMag.com
Duty status: flunked out of boot camp
Summary: antivirus firm iRiS purchased the domain for a colleague -- who intended to launch VirusMag.com as "An Independent On-line Magazine" for the antivirus industry. iRiS also supplied office space, phones, and a web server to their "independent" colleague. The website disappeared soon after Vmyths published an exposÚ. The online magazine never formally launched. (Vmyths acquired the virusmag.com domain in August 2001 and released it in June 2004.)
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Current hysteria roll call
Fearmongers who still contribute to global computer virus hysteria...
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