>This is a good assesment of what I have begun to call 'denial of comfort'
>threats. Absurd as it is, this hoax has caused a great deal of concern,
>mail, counter-claims, etc., and the expense all that entails.
IMNSHO it is deeper than that. My term is "terrorism" but someone more PC
inclined might call it "denial of trust". The point is that traditionally
there are two ways to destroy a system:
1) Overtly, with attacks and battering rams.
2) Covertly, by destroying the owners' trust so *they* remove it.
When the first fails, the second is often employed, particularly by Hollywood.
I have found that when verbal attacks intensify, it is often a sign that you
are doing something rite.
The problem is that no-one with the power/credibility to have an effect acts
decisively. Experts think about it and decide that they could possibly do
it and getting a decisive answer from an engineer is like pulling teeth. And
so, having been abandoned by their gods & surrounded by FUD, the people panic.
(and the heroine always trips when running from the monster - of course this
is because any long legged beauty can run faster than a poor sap sweating in
an ape suit with antenna & if she gets away we don't have a plot to sicken).
So the experts have to rely on non-events and that takes a while. If it were
a PC virus there are about twenty people scattered around the world, at least
one of whom would be guarenteed to have it before the public ever had an
inkling. With E-Mail, weeeeelllllll.
Larry Niven had the concept many years ago when he coined the concept of
"flash crowds". The Internet has "flash crowds" and "instant hysteria". At
the same time you also have the "Little Boy Who Cried Wolf." syndrome. If
a faux-wolf can create panic often enough, the real wolf will have an easy
time of it.
CERT/CIAC is good but too slow because they have to wait for facts. With
a non-fact it takes a while to be sure.
Now, what does this have to do with FIREWALLS ? Well one thing immediately:
you can't trust the net - if we could, no-one would need a firewall. Second,
some protection is better than none. In the future, I have no doubt that
attempts will be made to discredit people/things in an attempt to have them
removed. So some guidelines:
1) If it is faceless, it is probably baseless. (catchy, eh ?) This morning,
the Fred Basset strip showed the value of a tip received from a tout in
a bar who knew the second cousin of the jockey's girlfriend. I always
liked Chico's method in _A Day At The Races_.
2) No-one is less qualified than a expert out of her/his/its/other field.
(they have a bad habit of thinking they are). To be an expert in any field
takes all available time and mine is TransOceanics/Pontiacs/45,000 tonne
triple screw steamers 8*).
3) Journalists can always find an "expert" to agree with any position.
(corrollary to 1 & 2 above). Some are even "designated heros".
4) Editors always have the final say, and they know the least (once had
a word added to a *title*. Was "not".)
"By their works, so shall they be known". "How quickly they forget".