Sunday, April 26, 2009

HOWTO be a Cyberwar Expert

F-Secure Labs' blog points to Cyberwar is Bullshit. I say yes! And I point you to Evgeny Morozov's cracking 10-step guide to cyberwar fearmongering. Follow his simple plan and you'll be able to spread arrant drivel to the underbriefed with the best of them. I especially like:
2. Begin the story in Estonia, with a reference to its 2007 attacks; make sure to play up the “E-stonia” tune and how the entire country was under online siege for a month (never mention that rioting in the Estonian streets was much more devastating and that the actual online siege lasted for twenty minutes at best). Setting the story in Estonia would also help to play up the Soviet threat that never really left the country. Blame NATO's impotence, praise Skype's genius, quote non-existent local Web entrepreneurs who lost all their savings in the 2007cyber-attacks.
See here.

5. Find and quote industry experts with the biggest possible conflicts of interest – preferably those who make their living thanks to the public paranoia about cybersecurity. Make sure you give them enough space to quote their latest anti-virus solutions and consulting services. Since nobody important would talk to you on the record anyway, nobody expects your quotes to add any value to the article. Remember: it's all about the metaphors. Ideally, find "unbiased" experts who have never been to Estonia or Georgia, don't know the language, have gathered no data of their own, but who think that cyberwar is going to destroy us all (unless their firm is selected to help us save us from the evil hackers).

Again with the vendors.

Never mention any connectivity statistics for the countries you are writing about: you don't want readers to start doubting that someone might be interested in launching a cyberwar on countries that couldn't care less about the Internet.

Beijing: the world's most hacked city.

The big prize is alluding to a secretive summer camp on cyberwarfare, where hackers from Russia, China, Iran, and Israel get together to share tricks.

The Dr. Evil theory, a significant net contributor to global stupidity.

Update: Try the simple plan on this story.

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