Not All Security Vendors Sell Fear

Posted on January 29th, 2013 by

Drama sells newspapers; it’s a fact of life. As this ReadWrite article points out, it’s easy for people and companies that are looking for more visibility in the press and in speaking gigs to overdramatize news or fearmonger a bit. I’ve certainly had this temptation over the years. Each time I talked to a journalist who got audibly disinterested when I persisted in pushing the message that the world was not ending, the urge was there. I know I’ve lost a lot of quotes because I took the “don’t panic” route. But in the end, spreading unfounded fear does not sell computers, which in turn does not sell software.

Working in security, it’s easy to become mired in the ways life online can be full of hazards, potential pain, and suffering. There are enough scary things in the computing universe that we could sit around talking about dangerous things all day, every day. But that route can easily lead to burnout, whether you're reading it or writing it. It’s easy to forget that computing can also be about having fun, connecting and communicating with people, and making our lives easier.

Ultimately, it's better for our sanity if people tune out when a message is purely doom and gloom. Otherwise, we'll all end up turning off our computers and holing ourselves up in our houses in fear. We need to address dangers in our online environment constructively and positively.

You’ll notice that the coverage on this blog and on our social networking pages includes things that are not strictly security-related. This is partly because we’re covering topics we’re passionate about (yes, that includes pictures of kittens), but also because we believe there is more to be gained by educating people how to protect themselves while also discussing the fun and funny things about these amazing machines we use.

What pieces of security advice do you find too totally paranoid? What steps do you take to protect yourself that other people find over-the-top? What would you like to see us cover more or less of in the future?

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