Monday, August 02, 2010

Even "tech" media gets it wrong.

Everyone - most especially late night hosts and comedians are always down on "the media" for reporting on fluff stories. Justin Beiber or Lindsey Lohan anyone?  But they aren't the only ones.  The so called tech media is equally full of crap.

Case in point.  I just spent the weekend at Def Con.  You know the hacker conference that happens in Vegas every year.  Def Con is aptly named.  In a word it's Awesome, Awesome, Awesome.  Several times sitting in presentations I took a bite out of my chair due to the magnitude of the exploit being shown. 

Scary stuff - like a new exploit of WPA2.  This is the gold standard of wireless network security.  It's now useless.  Done. Over.  The industry will have to go back to the drawing board and try again.  Every wireless network out there is vulnerable.  WPA2 is totally broken.

What gets reported in the "news":  Well everyone from my local paper to CNet reported on the talk where a guy (with amazing skills and knowledge) built a device that can intercept GSM phone calls in the immediate area.  Yawn.  It's an amazingly cool hack and will be really useful for exactly NO ONE.  Think about this.  Anyone that's anyone will be using secondary encryption. i.e. government.  Anyone doing something nefarious will be subject to legal wiretaps that are a whole lot simpler to implement and everyone else is talking about picking up milk on the way home or Jaquita's new doo and how her booty looked in that purple and gold skirt.  Couple this with the fact YOU HAVE TO BE IN THE IMMEDIATE AREA.   Like I said,  YAWN. 

The other "big story" was a guy that hacked ATM machines.  The vulnerability is bad and the companies need to fix it,  but the access to the ATM that is required will make any actual exploitation of this bug very rare.  Much rarer than card skimmers - and this can be fixed by the vendors with a software patch.

Meanwhile the new vulnerability in the LAMP platform (i.e. the platform that runs 80% of the internet) goes completely un-reported.

These omissions are just as grave as choosing to publish photos of Ms Lohan's cleavage over reports from Iraq (remember that little war anyone).  Sure, boobies and ATMs make for great headlines and attract the drooling masses to your rag in line at the supermarket but these are hardly the important stories.

Then again if all the outlets reported on this stuff and everyone understood them - the world wouldn't need guys like me and I'd be out of a job.  Way to go Cnet!  Keep reporting fluff!

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