Security vendors and their obsession with celebrity deaths

Last week I expressed some disappointment with the way some securityvendors use scare tactics in their press releases to the media.Symantec took the brunt of the criticism during that post, so it’s onlyfair that their rival McAfee feels my wrath as well.

Now don’tget me wrong, both of these companies make solid security products andwill probably be the two leaders of this space for many years to come.I just have a problem with the way they try and get media coveragesometimes.

Case in point, a McAfee press release I just cameacross from last week. The pitch’s title was “Patrick Swayze’s Death -Abused by Cybercriminals, Says McAfee.” The security vendor says thatcyber criminals are using the death of Patrick Swayze (best known in mybooks for Road House) to lure users into downloading fake securitysoftware.

Apparently, pop-ups about the actor, customized withthe user’s city and country of origin, are directing users to download“Total Security” software in order to protect their PCs. Of course, thesoftware does anything but that, and is actually a dangerous Trojan.

Justlike with the Symantec release from last week, I’m wondering why I evenget releases like this. Can a major celebrity’s death ever occur whereI don’t receive pretty much this exact press release?

McAfeedidn’t give me any new or interesting information, and the pressrelease just reads as an excuse to get Swayze name into the headline.If there’s one trend I hope ends real soon, it’s this one.

Please stop it guys!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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