Do security companies create monsters?

Monday, 28 July 2003, 1:45 PM EST

Everyone who has used a computer at one time or another has received a forwarded message with a questionable-looking subject line. Even those who are conscientious about basic security -- and normally would not open a message referencing an .exe file -- might do so if the e-mail came from a known source. Occasionally, that choice can result in more than consternation, when it turns out the message is not what it appears to be.

Perhaps it carries a virus. That, undoubtedly, is the worst-case scenario. But what if it is nothing more than a marketing ploy, demonstrating to recipients that it could have been a bug?

This is the question: Is such a warning nothing more than a scare tactic by the security-software vendor that sent it -- not so subtly promoting its own service offerings? Or is it helpful education for the public? Or both?

The answer, it seems, depends on whom you ask.

[ Read more ]




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