Most popular posts of 2013

As we approach the end of 2013, I’m going to do my usual series of blog posts looking back at what actually happened on this little planet. This is the first, being a list of the most-read posts on this website.

There hasn’t been a lot to choose from in the last couple of years, because most of my writing is done elsewhere these days. That means some rather mundane pieces of writing, such as Weekly Wrap posts, end up on the list. That’s possibly an argument for abandoning this little exercise.

  1. Catchup posts within 36 hours was the most popular post of all, which makes no sense whatsoever because it’s routine administrivia. I suspect the visitor count has been artificially inflated somehow, though supposedly the traffic generated by spambots has already been removed.
  2. My tweets from TechEd Australia 2012’s keynote sessions, a post that was linked to from news stories that reported me having been banned from attending Microsoft’s TechEd conference. My own blog post on this issue is coming up at number 5.
  3. Guardian Australia not the droid you’re looking for, being my reaction against all the excitement generated in January 2013 by the announcement that there would soon be an Australian edition of this news masthead.
  4. My fish are dead: the black dog ate them (an explanation?), being my rather idiosyncratic announcement and discussion of the fact that I’d been dealing with a severe depression episode, published in July.
  5. Microsoft has banned me from covering TechEd, which is self-explanatory.
  6. Choosing my next media directions: you’re doing it, OK?, from May.
  7. Vodafone Australia’s new 4G network ain’t bad, being the write-up of my trial of the network which led to that conclusion.
  8. Weekly Wrap 152: LulzSec, Optus, radio and thinking stuff, which I suspect is only in the Top 10 because it mentions LulzSec.
  9. Weekly Wrap 155: Chemtrails, elitism and much thinking, ditto, chemtrails.
  10. Sydney Harbour “giant gambling den” bullshit reportage, from January.

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Do McAfee’s new cyberstats really represent a shift?

Composite image of ZDNet column headline and McAfee report title: click for ZDNet columnAs brokers of reliable information about the scale of online crime and espionage, most information security vendors would make great used car salesmen — but McAfee’s latest research finally seems to be taking the right path.

In my column at ZDNet Australia this week, I give McAfee some praise for the most recent research they’ve funded, a preliminary report from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies titled The Economic Impact of Cybercrime and Cyber Espionage that dismantles the daft idea that cyberstuff costs the global economy a trillion dollars a year.

McAfee now admits that you can’t run a small-N survey in a couple dozen large, wealthy nations — often a self-selected sample of known crime victims at that — and extrapolate the data globally.

Their new figure is “probably measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars”, although they never quite commit to one specific number…

“In the context of a $70 trillion global economy, these losses are small, but that does not mean it is not in the national interest to try to reduce the loss, and the theft of sensitive military technology creates damage whose full cost is not easily quantifiable in monetary terms,” McAfee writes.

True, but as McAfee themselves point out, this supposed cybercrime explosion is really down at the level of shoplifting. Retailers generally budget between 0.5% and 2% for pilferage and other such “shrinkage”.

I also mention my previous critical comments about various infosec vendors’ dodgy statistics — but I don’t link to them, because they were mostly published at non-CBS mastheads. So here’s a selection of stories I’ve written on this subject over the last couple of years.

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