Hype, hacks, and bad press

Monday, 14 July 2003, 9:14 AM EST

I generally don't inflict press release material on you, certainly not without a bit of rewriting, context and interpretation – but this time, it's necessary. The press release is promoting a press conference designed to sell the services of Richard Clarke's consultancy, and it opens like this:

“Imagine waking up one morning to learn that our nation's air traffic control system has been rendered inoperable, with 9,000 planes in the air, by a breach in network security. Imagine visiting your local bank's ATM to learn that your savings account balance has been “stolen” by an enterprising hacker. Imagine your personal healthcare history made public on the Internet.”

I realise that scaremongering is part-and-parcel of the business of selling security, but it's excessive (in my opinion) when somebody with a reputation gained by using the phrase “former presidential advisor” signs off on PR leading with so implausible a scenario.

While I'll go along with the threat to bank accounts and privacy, what the hell has the Internet got to do with air traffic control?

[ Read more ]




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