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Truth about computer security hysteria
Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

Famous self-appointed busybodies

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Friday, 1 October 1999

FORBES EDITOR ADAM Penenberg published an excellent column on how anyone can gain notoriety as a computer security expert. I myself qualify as a "famous self-appointed busybody" and I appreciate an editor who can detect it. How refreshing!

"It's a sad fact, but whenever someone is cited as an expert in one publication, he is almost sure to be quoted in another — and another and another. The reason is simple: The first thing a journalist does when beginning a story is to see what else has been written on the topic. Culling sources from other news articles is a good way to get started. The problem is, few reporters check out these 'experts,' figuring that if a source made it into, say, The New York Times or The Washington Post, he must be reliable and, well, expert."

I wish I'd found Penenberg's columns earlier. They read like a breath of fresh air.

Penenberg goes on to critique "the schizophrenic emergence of twenty-year-old John Vranesevich, founder and operator of antionline.com, a web site that purports to follow the hacker scene." Previous columns dealt with such topics as the hype surrounding information warfare and the overall problem of media hype about hackers.

Speaking of media hype about hackers... Reuters got duped. Again. They never learn. However, Newsbytes provided some decent spin control this time.

Oh, I almost forgot. Happy Fiscal New Year! The entire U.S. federal government begins FY00 today. Let's all bid a fond farewell to .mil domains, .gov domains, NIPRNET, SIPRNET, and DD Form 173...