Got an email just now, from the marketing department of a company that makes some server software that I occasionally use. The notification of new email popped up on my screen, with a snippet of the body saying that cyberattacks are increasing in sophistication and volume, so I should…presumably, the rest of the email was a pitch for me to go spend some time and money listening to them explain how they can offer me security as a service.
There are a couple things about that email that make me cross.
* It’s emotionally manipulative. They want to sell me something I don’t need (granted, someone might need it) or want, and the opening line is, essentially, “be afraid.” Because people who are afraid make the best decisions about what to do next, don’t they? I hate people who take advantage of this. They claim that they’re doing something to help you, but that’s actually a lie: they’re doing something to help themselves to your resources. Any benefit you derive from the transaction is purely incidental. Every time an email like this lands in my inbox, I’m being lied to by someone who wants to take my stuff, and the lie is, “I want what is best for you.” Seriously, marketing people suck.
* Cyberattacks are increasing in sophistication and volume, sure, but it’s gonna take a really sophisticated cyberattack to compromise my gravity operated clock. The solution to crappy software is not more crappy software, but less. These guys are tying to sell me software, so they’re going to claim that it’s rock solid. But anyone who has ever done serious programming knows that any such claim is a hope rather than a statement of fact. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you something, and they don’t care about your well-being.
You know what else is increasing in volume, if not sophistication? This kind of marketing. Everyone wants the general populace to be scared, because scared people are easily manipulated, and that manipulation isn’t just about money — it’s about everything. Political decisions. Economic decisions. The world is huge, but finite, and I bet that the marketing folks are looking at population increase and thinking about Malthus and they’re sharing their fear.