FUD

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt: the Real Cyber Attack on the Truth [UPDATE]

[photo: cdrummbks via Flickr]

[UPDATE - see end of article.]

One weaselly senator–with long-identified agendas and a pathetically thin understanding of technology–takes to the microphone. Suddenly, by virtue of wrapping his senatorial lips around a few scary words on topics about which he knows little, we citizens are supposed to quake in fear and plead for salvation.

Screw that noise. This is textbook  “fear, uncertainty, and doubt” — more commonly referred to as FUD in the information technology industry.

Since the 1970s, FUD tactics have used to suppress competition in the computer marketplace, targeting both hardware and software. Roger Irwin explained,

…It is a marketing technique used when a competitor launches a product that is both better than yours and costs less, i.e. your product is no longer competitive. Unable to respond with hard facts, scare-mongering is used via ‘gossip channels’ to cast a shadow of doubt over the competitors offerings and make people think twice before using it.In general it is used by companies with a large market share, and the overall message is ‘Hey, it could be risky going down that road, stick with us and you are with the crowd. Our next soon-to-be-released version will be better than that anyway’. …

FUD has non-technology applications as well; one need only look at product and service brands that encourage doubts about using any product other than their own, in lieu of actually promoting the advantages their product or service might have.

So what’s the FUD about? Senator Joe Lieberman spouted off about cyber attacks in September last year, claiming Iran was behind disruptive efforts targeting U.S. banks.

Right. Uh-huh. Predictable, yes?

But FUD is used in situations where there is competition, one might point out. Yes, exactly; in September 2012, the case for support of unilateral attacks against Iran was up against the news cycle crush, powered by the post-Benghazi fallout and the drive toward the November general election, followed by the terror that was the “fiscal cliff.” That’s a lot of powerful, compelling competition for both attention, votes, and tax dollars, when members of a reliable but lame duck Congress could be mounting up a pre-emptive cyber war without the headwind of public awareness and resistance, or the too-inquisitive pushback from newbies in the next seated Congress. Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV RT @ColMorrisDavis: Irony: BREAKING NEWS banner about UK terror threat while IRA supporter @RepPeteKing talking ... 1980's déjà vu. @CNN ht…
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emptywheel RT @MikeScarcella: No day at the beach for Microsoft: SDNY judge lifts freeze on search warrant http://t.co/9XkPjq3S8y from @joe_palazzolo
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emptywheel @Kenarf Ah, didn't get that point you were making. Thanks for explaining.
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emptywheel @Kenarf Technically, our stress position deaths were crucifixion. Also, both ISIS--and the Saudis--have been beheading for some time.
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bmaz RT @micahflee: The @torproject debian signing key has expired, so linux users/servers can't update Tor https://t.co/GjePTIj5HU http://t.co/
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bmaz @seanpaulkelley @GregoryMcNeal Bad. Ass. Mofo.
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bmaz Laird Hamilton. Shooting the pier, saving lives, just another day at the beach http://t.co/nfVFIrM8DA Filmed by drone! cc: @GregoryMcNeal
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emptywheel @harmlessrain They do leak all the time. Tho rarely on hacks of big corporations. Remember how big a deal it was they indicted China?
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emptywheel I mean, once upon a time, SECURITY firms wink wink leaked the hacks, But usu FBI doesn't leak hacks on big cos, as companies get cranky
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emptywheel @AdamSerwer Of course, that might be FOIAble, but you'd get an answer to it around about the same time Darren Wilson was indicted, ie never.
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emptywheel @AdamSerwer Though the cops justified releasing it bc of FOIA. And had heard passing mention of which local outlet had allegedly done so.
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emptywheel Anyone have a theory for why this JPMorgan hack has wink wink been leaked by FBI, unlike other attacks?
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