In the Guardian, Heather Brooke calls out the news outfits who fell for the DDoS that broke the internet story this week.
A lot of people have a lot to gain from peddling scare stories about cyber “warfare”. As with any type of politics it’s important to know precisely who is making the claims and what their interests are.
In whose interest is it to hype up the collapse of the internet from a DDoS attack? Why, the people who provide cyber security services of course. And looking at the reporting, almost all the sources are directly involved and have a vested interest. The claims about the scale of the attack are from CloudFlare, the anti-DDoS firm hired by Spamhaus to ward off the attack. Eschewing subtlety they blogged about the event: “The DDos that Almost Broke the Internet”.
As soon as you have a source with a direct involvement, scepticism should be your guide. Sadly, reporters don’t always have the time or space for scepticism, and increasingly they are judged only on their ability to fill space at speed. In this environment there is no incentive to challenge a good yarn.
The sad truth is that many persons who call themselves “technology reporters,” at least outside the highly specialized tech media world, have no clue how computers work. To them, computers (and smartphones, tablets, what have you) are still magic boxes; the “technology reporters” don’t even know the right questions to ask.
They may know what the newest overpriced hunk of iJunk is, but they couldn’t assign a static IP address to their home computer for love or money. Heck, they probably don’t even know what a “static ip address” is (Google it).
And these are the people shaping tech news for the public.
Follow the link. Ms. Brooke offers a list of questions that you can ask–and that the “technology reporters” did not–the next time a story like this is spawned by the Society for the Full Employment of Security Consultants.