[ISN] It's official: mi2g has no sense of humor
isn at c4i.org
Thu Jul 29 02:51:37 EDT 2004
[Another must read article from Rob Rosenberger! - WK]
by Rob Rosenberger
CAN YOU TELL the difference between a parody and a hoax? One computer
security firm can't.
Our longtime readers know about a firm called "mi2g" (correct
spelling). Vmyths has exposed their many shenanigans dating back to
1999. Our website tops the list if you Google for "mi2g criticism" and
we're #3 if you Google for "mi2g humor." mi2g has threatened to sue
Vmyths for libel but has not yet made good on its threat.
An unknown person parodied an mi2g alert with the headline "Wendy's
drive-up order system information disclosure." I'll call it "the mi2g
parody" for short. It's a straightforward parody -- yet the folks at
mi2g went ballistic over it. CEO & founder D.K. Matai (incorrect
spelling) labeled it an outright hoax in a bizarre press release dated
It's not a hoax. It's a parody. PAIR-OH-DEE. Merriam-Webster's online
dictionary explains the difference:
parody: a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or
work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule
hoax: 1: an act intended to trick or dupe
The key to a hoax lies in the word "dupe." The hoaxster wants to trick
you into believing the story he weaves. The key to a parody lies in
the word "comic." The comedian wants you to laugh at an absurdity.
Just for the fun of it, I want you to read a story with the headline
"Exxon perfects new method for turning seawater into fuel." Hoax or
parody? Now read "Giant flashbulb to help Hubble telescope see even
farther." Hoax or parody? Finally, read "Rumsfeld, Bush Sr. arrested
for past ties to Saddam." Hoax or parody?
When I saw the mi2g parody, I immediately recognized it as such.
Vmyths cohorts Lew Koch and George C. Smith recognized it as a parody,
too. InfoSec News moderator William Knowles tagged it as a parody when
he forwarded it to his mailing list. "Real mi2g, fake mi2g, whatever,
it had me in stitches!" Pete Simpson (ClearSwift) exclaimed "that is
the best belly laugh I've had in the last decade."
Everybody got the humor -- except for the folks at mi2g. "It is clear
that there is no purpose to it other than to smear reputation and
cause damage," they huffed in a supposed "news alert." mi2g went on to
slam a number of security sites by name, claiming "they did not
control the content which they published, even when it was blatantly
evident that the posting they were purveying was an obvious obnoxious
A hoax? A hoax?!? Yeah, yeah, tell it to Exxon. Or tell it to Enron.
Or tell it to ValuJet. Or heck, tell it to anyone I've parodied over
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