The Metaphysics of Conficker
Bruce Schneier, writing in the Guardian, attempts to use the Conficker scare to illustrate larger lessons in human psychology. In particular, he wonders why Conficker led to global cyber-panic, at least among Windows users, whereas other, equally or more dangerous malware passes almost unnoticed almost every day.
Frankly, I think his reasoning is a bit over the top, but it’s still an interesting read. The full column is here.
An excerpt below the fold:
Conficker’s 1 April deadline was precisely the sort of event humans tend to overreact to. It’s a specific threat, which convinces us that it’s credible. It’s a specific date, which focuses our fear. Our natural tendency to exaggerate makes it more spectacular, which further increases our fear. Its repetition by the media makes it even easier to bring to mind. As the story becomes more vivid, it becomes more convincing.
(Look! A first: I spelled “Conficker” correctly!)