Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I saw a story today asking if the Pentagon was ready for "Cyberwar".

I can't believe anyone can take that reporter seriously. I would have laughed in his face at the question, spouting, "Cyberwar, you say? Hold on, let me find my copy of Windows 95 and my fast 28.8 modem and check!"

You see, I just don't understand the Media's fascination with putting "Cyber-" on the front of anything computer related. While that may have been trendy in the 90's, it is wearing thin with me. Computers are no longer some exotic domain of the digital elite.

We need to move these people on to using something as normal and mundane as this is. It's "computer crime" or an "internet security breach". It happens probably thousands of times a day in smaller or larger forms.

Even using the verb "to hack" has become the sign of someone who doesn't get it. Sure, technologists may throw it around matter-of-factly, but it's neither edgy nor a technical term. It's a piece of slang.

Professional journalists need to be, well, professional about this. They need to move into the 21st century with the rest of us and treat computers as the everyday object they are rather then as some object from a Sci-Fi novel.

If a nation-state attacks computers in Iran and disables a cyclotron, it's a covert computer virus not a "Cyberhack". If bored teens and twenty-somethings attack Sony, they're not "Hacking the website", they're simply gaining unauthorized access to a computer and its data. It's not cute, and it's not amazing.

Please, NPR, CBS, NBC, and Fox, please try to raise the tone of discussion.

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