[ISN] Some truths are too callous to be told

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Feb 04 2003 - 02:51:06 PST

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    by Rob Rosenberger 
    STOP THE PRESSES! Our longtime readers know of a firm called mi2g. 
    They issued a "news alert" earlier today: 
    Seven hours after the Columbia shuttle tragedy a hacking group struck 
    down nine servers belonging to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). 
    The digital attacks were recorded around 22:15 GMT and carried on in 
    succession until 23:54 GMT. All nine JPL.NASA.GOV servers were running 
    on the Sun Solaris operating system at the time. 
    You can buy the rest of this "news alert" from mi2g for "GBP 50 + 
    VAT." I kid you not.
    "Buy"? Agh! Why does this stuff always happen when I forget to lay 
    down a bet?
    A virus expert who asked for anonymity offered this gem (paraphrased): 
    "I think there will soon be an email worm with 'Details of Columbia 
    disaster' in the subject line. Hype PR from antivirus firms will 
    follow it." I couldn't agree more. I failed to place a bet last time, 
    but I won't fail again. Give me $2 on Panda Software.
    My previous column seemed to appeal to U.S. government & military 
    workers -- but it didn't sit well with the antivirus industry. Virus 
    expert Henri Delger (independent) disowned me over it. He removed 
    every Vmyths link from his website and he even set up his computer to 
    reject my emails.
    Delger made it clear -- some truths are too callous to be told.
    Virus analyst Patrick Nolan (Fortinet) berated me in Usenet's 
    alt.comp.virus newsgroup: 
    Any sponsorship of your site would be naive not to withdraw based on 
    one sentence from that page => 
    "Thank goodness the shuttle disintegrated on a Saturday!" 
    Nothing is sacred, is it. Free speech, free thought, shall reign 
    supreme. Blah. And you never had a relative who tragically lost their 
    life. Perhaps you've never seen a large volume of research vanish in 
    seconds. And perhaps I'd like to say what I really think, but I won't. 
    "I'd like to say what I really think, but I won't." Hmph. Nolan will 
    never make a good pundit. (Some trivia: Nolan disowned me in 2001 
    after I called him "ethical" in a column. I've since changed my mind 
    about him.)
    I stand by my previous column. Somebody needed to say it and we know 
    Nolan won't grab a soapbox. mi2g proved my point. Others will prove my 
    point, too.
    Reporters offered mixed reactions to my previous column. One reporter 
    (I'll offer him anonymity) replied with an astute critique. "I just 
    think you're doing a disservice to your mission when you start lumping 
    all of us together." Guilty as charged: I paint journalists with a 
    very wide brush. His observation led me to send an email to a short 
    list of savvy reporters: 
    A virus named after Columbia will earn tons of ink no matter how 
    obscure the threat. If you file computer stories on a regular basis, 
    then you'll have no choice in the matter. You WILL file a story about 
    the virus. The tragedy will force your hand. A dozen alerts from 
    antivirus firms will force your hand. A hundred bylines will force 
    your hand. Your editor will force your hand!
    Remember to smile when your editor asks "why haven't you done a story 
    about the shuttle virus?" I absolve you in advance. 
    VMYTHS FIGHTS COMPUTER virus hysteria. If you look at the top of this 
    page, you'll see our slogan begins with the word "truth."
    It doesn't begin with "sugar coated truth." It doesn't begin with 
    "politically correct truth."
    You need sugar coated sympathy? Then you definitely don't want to read 
    my previous column. Go visit Delger's website instead. He'll give you 
    virus advice mixed with a touching tribute to the Columbia shuttle 
    You need a virus expert who won't say what he really thinks? Then you 
    definitely don't want to read my previous column. Go read Nolan's 
    tripe instead. He'll treat you just like a mushroom.
    I have spoken. 
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