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Re: [ISN] Cyber-terror drama skates on thin Black Ice

From: InfoSec News (isnc4i.org)
Date: Fri Feb 27 2004 - 02:05:22 CST


Forwarded from: Jason Scott <jasontextfiles.com>

What originally got me on the ISN list in the first place was William
inviting me after I got into a back-and-forth with Verton about his
previous book "Confessions of Teenage Hackers", which is basically
riddled with hyperbole, factual errors in regard to history, and
possible exploitation of underage interview subjecs if you hold it to
the right light.

My apparent concentration of focus on Verton is actually not; it's
part of a larger project that I've been idly working on to collate and
list major errors in many works, including those by Hafner, Markoff,
Littman, Goodell and so on. It is very personally troubling to me when
these books are later used as source materials for untold numbers of
school reports, academic papers, and possibly even laws, and they
simply get facts wrong. However, only Verton has taken the time to
tell me to "get a life" and other similar jibes.

As a result, I purchased his Black Ice book, intending to see if the
approach he took in Confessions was a standard practice or just a
fluke of bad reporting taking on a subject he wasn't too good with.

Here, I encountered a problem: the book is astoundingly boring, so
much so that several wanderings into the chapters caused me to retreat
like a dog that's run into brambles. The subject is vague
(cyberterrorism) and his writing is not all that engaging. Trying to
work up interest in the subject at all is difficult enough, what with
the whole idea of "cyberterrorism" just being another hype term to
give the security industry some boost. So I abandoned the chore of
reading Verton's book for the time being; it stares at me as I speak,
mocking me from my "at-hand" bookshelf.

So naturally I take an interest when I see an article from somewhere
else going after the book and its stylistic problems, and I see that
the reviewer doesn't enjoy Verton's leaning towards hyperbole and
portrayal of imminent threat any more than I do. But here we also
encounter a problem.

Richard Greene, the reporter for the Register, isn't all that much better.

I had the unenviable position of watching all sides playing out in the
Gweeds/cDc/l0pht/Sir Dystic soap opera Greene orchestrated, and I got
to see that in several critical cases, he went for one-source
reporting, and throwing e-mails by god-knows-who with
god-knows-what-motivations verbatim into his articles. It was at best
disheartening and at worst angering to watch him apply his chainsaw,
and it has taken the heart out of any enjoyment I used to have reading
"juicy" Register articles. Of course they're juicy: guess who's
supplying the juice?

The point of all this I'm saying? Watch the bylines. Match bylines to
articles, match them to books. The tendons of hype will make
themselves clear to you.

On Thu, 26 Feb 2004, InfoSec News wrote:

> http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/55/35816.html
>
> [ http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0072227877/c4iorg - WK]

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