Monday, August 2, 2010

El Reg Welcomes Readers to 2007.

It's a hard life for many journalists in the tech world. An ever changing landscape, a rush to be first to report, and the need to be the first to break a story, to hit the social media, get the big hits and end up on Slashdot, can make finding stories that can draw the page-views hard. One of the weakest techniques is to take an old story, find a modern version, then just report on that modern version as if it's breaking news. If you can include some hot topics, you can clean up, Say Angelina Jolie, and Apple, and malware and P2P. Combining all four of these, The Reg has hit the bullseye.

Today, their security correspondant has 'phoned it in' a bit, posting an article (see below) about malware. Specifically, malware (1) that's posing as a quicktime (Apple, 2) file of Angelina Jolie's (3) film Salt on P2P (4, ding ding, we have a winner!) networks. It's a great story, except it's a very old one.

The concept of malware infected fake video files is nothing new; ten seconds got me this TorrentFreak story from 2007. It's also a well known phenomena. How well known? Well, a good number of the torrents used in the study that Ars was so quick to take as Gospel were probably similarly infected. Fake high seed counts are common to draw the unwary to them (because people think ' more seeds = more speeds') and have been documented back to the early days of Napster. John Leyton, if he knows anything about security and P2P, will be well aware of this, and if not, then resident 'freetard expert', and Leyton's boss Andrew Orlowski certainly should.

So why print the story? The clue's in the headline "Poisoned Angelina flick hits torrents". Three of those 5 words are magnets that will draw the eye and get people reading. More reading is more adverts, which means more money. And it's a sad sign of tech news reporting nowadays. First it was Ars screwing up by being lazy, now El Reg. Who will be next?

The Quick Brown Fox Seeds Past the Lazy Journalist - Source

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