Can a stealth salesman be that far away?

The Fox News story Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran's Nuclear Weapons Ambitions ( makes for good reading. I am not qualified to determine how much of it is factual and how much of it is Fox News hyperbole.

Cliff Stoll’s book “The Cuckoo’s Egg” (Pocket Books 1989, 1990) makes for good reading, as does every John Grisham story, but especially “The Broker” (2005)

Myself I prefer to read Richard Dawkins and his account of why anti-malware producers should launch a benign yet subtle worm/trojan/virus to “infect” the machines of those who don’t know or don’t care about security, to wit, all my friends and about 50% of my colleagues.

For my part I am fed up with Rogers Internet Speed test page telling me that my copy of Internet Explorer (version 6) ought to be replaced, as if that would raise my internet speed above 0.055 kbps when I’m paying for 3 Mbps, and FireFox is a better product anyway.

And then ComputerWorld Canada (November 16 2010 page 12) comes out with a story about an Internet Explorer zero-day attack.

I cogitate.

Consider if you will products with a limited lifespan (anything purchased from a retail store) and foods stamped with a Best Use date which prompts the population to add perfectly edible food to the garbage crisis.

And I conclude that the day has probably arrived, if not passed, when a major software supplier will happily hand out a few thousand dollars with pizza and coke secretly and via an “air gap” to have written and launched a plague that will corrupt out-of-date (from the suppliers point of view) software so effectively that consumers will be forced to ante up for version 7 or version 8 or …

One major supplier of operating system and desktop software does that quite openly. We all fork out about $500 per annum per staff member to purchase, install, train and familiarize ourselves with the latest fins mounted above the rear wheels.

But suppose that you wanted to really boost sales, and not leave it to the doubts of the consumer.

Can a stealth salesman be that far away?

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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