Cyberwar is Hell

Tuesday, 2 July 2002, 12:57 PM EST

Cyberwar is Hell, but never too hellish for feverish salesmanship. Take, for example, McAfee's recent botched attempt to sell the public on the merits of the fiendish "JPEG virus" said to be hanging over beloved digital stockpiles of family photos and Swedish pornography like the sword of Damocles.

The corporate deployment of fear and loathing started strong but quickly fizzled. While the Associated Press fell for the McAfee news ruse, publishing a corporate mouthpiece's blank claim that "[potentially] no file type could be safe" - few others were quite so impressed.

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