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As antivirus software cries wolf at every “threat,” consumers ignore real dangers



How much alarmism is too much when it comes to digital security? The answer isn’t clear, whether the question is focused on how governments should respond to attacks or on how consumers should consider their own security in an increasingly unsafe world.

What is clear is that security products shouldn’t cry wolf every time they detect a modest threat to someone’s computer. A new survey shows that the practice of notifying people about even the least-important of digital problems often overwhelms many consumers.

It’s a bit like dealing with a first-time parent. Because it’s not clear what constitutes a real threat and what’s actually harmless, a lot of software goes for broke and starts doing the antivirus equivalent to baby-proofing a cupboard or asking guests to wear surgical masks.

Funnily enough, the process actually makes consumers act more like experienced yet exhausted parents willing to let their children bungee jump off a roof if it means they’ll shut up for a while. As problematic as the first approach is, this second option can be even more dangerous.

The result, at least so far as security software is concerned, is a deluge of notifications that end up being ignored because people can’t handle the sheer number of viruses and other nasty bits of malware constantly threatening their precious computers’ health.

And that’s how you end up with problems like the Target customer data breach, which is said to have tripped an alarm on the company’s security software that went ignored because countless notifications were sent to the company’s information technology team.

Perhaps anti-virus software should seek to be like the parent of a second child instead of a first or third loin-spawn: experienced enough to recognize real threats instead of losing it over every mention of “germs” but not so exhausted that they just don’t care anymore.



‘The Wolf Of BuzzFeed’ Equates Those Quizzes You Like So Much To Penny Stocks


‘The Wolf Of BuzzFeed’ Equates Those Quizzes You Like So Much To Penny Stocks image The Wolf of Buzzfeed

Penny Stocks: Highly speculative stocks that cost less than a dollar, used by Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the Wolf of Wall Street in order to build his fortune. Commonly seen as a sucker’s bet.

BuzzFeed Quizzes: Practically randomly generated quizzes that use questions nonsensical questions to figure out unrelated answers. Generally seen as the most annoying thing on Facebook.

The team at Half Day Today put together a video mashing BuzzFeed and the Wolf of Wall Street together in a hilarious mock trailer of The Wolf of Buzzfeed.

In it, we see Leonardo DiCaprio’s character replaced by an actor impersonating Jonah Peretti, the founder of BuzzFeed, who is joined by a Saturday Night Live worthy Jonah Hill impersonator.

“You show me a blog post with 72 thousand hits on it, I quit my job right now and come work for you.”

You know all those lists and quizzes you love and/or hate? The ones filling up your Facebook wall with things like “ The 100 Ways You TOTALLY Killed Your Tamagotchi!” “The Top 10 DUMBEST BuzzFeed Lists” and “How Many Justin Biebers Could You Take In A Fight?” well, lets just say the trailer talks about them.

Do you think lists and or quizzes are the penny stocks of the internet?

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