Crying wolf revisited

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jul 1, 2002

While one AV vendor comes in for a roasting, the others enjoy the rare taste of the moral high ground.

Last month was Network Associates' turn to come in for a roasting over its hyping of W32/Perrun, the non-eventful proof-of-concept JPEG virus. On receipt of the virus the company was quick to distribute a press release, along with comments to the press - a move which raised the hackles of many. Although careful to acknowledge the non-severity of the virus with interjections such as 'we are not saying that this is a problem' and 'it's not serious', given the mainstream media's love of a good old-fashioned scare story - not to mention propensity for quoting out of context - one has to question the thinking behind the unleashing of this information (or lack thereof).

In February 2000 (see VB February 2000, p.5), a concerned Vincent Gullotto of NAI wrote to VB, questioning the ethics of another AV company's marketing activities, stating: 'in all the years of pushing information, NAI hasn't even come close to manifesting such a barrage of unnecessary warnings.'

VB wonders: is NAI attempting to make up for lost time?

But, while other AV companies may enjoy a sojourn on the moral high ground this time around, it does appear that, for the majority, the temptation to churn out press releases at every conceivable opportunity is irresistable. Whether the result is a pile of groaningly tenuous PR 'stories' or less than helpful scare-mongering, seems to be the luck of the editor's draw.

Posted on 01 July 2002 by Virus Bulletin

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