Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why I am no Fan of SciAm's recent "Hacking the Lights Out"

For three reasons, primarily:

1. Misuse of the term "Hacking." The man on the street may have trouble using words correctly from time to time, but Scientific American is supposed to know better. Especially with terms, like hacker, that are clearly loaded. Hacking, by the way, used the proper way, doesn't constitute a bad thing. To the hacking and security conscious community, it's more like a creative (and often good) thing. This headline is not helping.

2. Can't read whole article and it costs $7.95 to buy the whole issue. And I don't see an option to buy just the article for less. IMHO that's way too much mula for one article by today's standards.

3. OK, the first two are really small potatoes compared to this one. How many times do I/we have to say it? Enough with the FUD mongering. Tabloids and other lower forms of journalistic life: from them I expect anything. But SCIAM, for me, anyway, is something greater ... better. Or at least I thought it was.

The "In Brief" section on page 1 lets me know up front they're going to discuss problems and threats, but it also says it's going to end with how security is being "ramped up". Fair enough.  I definitely want to hear about what the good guys are doing so our lights don't get "hacked out". But if you get a chance to read the whole article, you'll be surprised by how little time it spends on proactive, defensive measures being taken. My non-scientific estimate of FUD-to-what we're doing is about 9 to 1.

I want more balance. I want less alarmism. That's all I want. You can read the first page HERE.

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