Y2K again? Beware the boy who cried wolf

Is our penchant for drama leading to a day when we no longer care about impending technological disasters?
Written by Darren Greenwood, Contributor

This week, there was a massive fuss about turning off FBI servers that were servicing DNSChanger victims. I haven't seen such hype since the Y2K bug.

All kinds of mayhem were predicted back then, but none ever occurred.

Perhaps the concerns were groundless, or maybe it was because we were all so well prepared.

Early this week, excitable warnings were made that around 1000 computers in New Zealand and 6000 in Australia would no longer be able to receive the internet from Monday afternoon.

We got warnings from the government, we got warnings from government agencies. Security software firms contacted me to say that their country manager was keen to talk.

Telecom New Zealand also put out advice on how to cope.

But, in the end, nothing happened.

As I said, it was just like the Y2K Millennium bug all over again. The funny thing was, just like they were then, people were happy to be warned.

Better to be forewarned and forearmed, they say, even if the threats come to nothing.

A British weatherman once gained infamy by dismissing predictions of a hurricane before the Great Storm of 1987 brought mass devastation.

Since then, I have noticed, weather forecasts have tended to err on the dramatic side, just in case.

You can say the same about warnings concerning technology in general.

I have been writing about cyberterrorism this week, and again I was given dramatic predictions about the threats, possibly so that we pay attention and prepare for it.

Of course, experts must beware how far they go with the hype they give. They need to recall the story of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf". If there are too many false alarms, we may stop listening.

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