Tech & The District » Washington Capitals Tech the way we see it: insights and musings on technology PR, policy and the District, from H&K’s D.C. Tech Team. Thu, 04 Aug 2011 15:06:44 +0000 en hourly 1 Conficker What? Mon, 30 Mar 2009 21:50:35 +0000 Vanessa Truskey Since we have clients who work in the realm of information security, it’s my job to be aware of (at least marginally) some of the latest threats, viruses and worms intimidating the average Internet user.  What strikes me as funny, though, is when these threats go mainstream. 

If you watched the “60 Minutes” piece last night on the Conficker worm, the latest of many threats to Internet safety, you may not be surprised to know that Conficker has become a household name almost overnight (even DC 101’s Elliott in the Morning took a break from its raunchy/hilarious shock-jock morning talk to discuss it, albeit half mockingly).  But honestly – it’s enough to make you want to unplug your computer from that data port and revert back to a typewriter for word processing.  But how scared should we be?  And how newsworthy really is this?

The “60 Minutes” segment starts out ominously: “The Internet is infected.”  Who doesn’t know that already?  This doesn’t mean you are infected (if you have a Mac, you’re definitely not infected).  If you have any tech savvy at all, you’re aware of the ways to keep yourself and your computer safe on the Internet.  If you don’t, Computerworld can help.  Scare tactics, though, aren’t helpful, unless of course you’re a Nielsen guy.  But I don’t get the impression that Lesley Stahl spends much time on Facebook or YouTube.

Then I realized who the target audience for “60 Minutes” is: my parents and grandparents. I suppose if several million baby boomers and other relative newbies to the Internet went online and patched their browsers or upgraded their anti-virus software, then we all owe Stahl a debt of gratitude.  My humble take on this: it’s an attempt to use April 1, the day the worm will allegedly unleash its fury (Capitals fans, get the reference?) as a newshook to scare the bejebus out of the average consumer. 

What should you really be scared about on April 1?  The bad April Fool’s Day joke some corny dude in your office is inevitably planning as we speak…

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