Feeds

‘WinXP beefs up security’ story goes viral on Web

And this is how it works...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Early-rising news junkies may have noticed a curious wave of 'WinXP beefs up PC security' stories creeping across the web, and no doubt spreading into the public prints. They may also have noted how curiously similar they are; but as Reuters, the source, doesn't figure on our good friend Mark Murray's list of "timed" XP story partners, we must presume the stories' appearance is entirely coincidental, no matter how helpful its message is to Microsoft on this, the big day.

The story itself covers XP's built-in Internet Connection Firewall (ICF), which has been known about for quite some while, and therefore is not what you'd call a news story as far as the specialist IT press is concerned. Or indeed as far as news in general is concerned, but the hook for the Reuters piece is that old standby, "analysts say." If analysts can be induced to comment (phone them up, kid) on something that is no longer news, then voila, it's news again, and timely as well, given the date.

For what it's worth, the analysts say ICF is probably pretty handy for home users, but that corporate customers will likely stay with separate products. So what happens next? Well, once Reuters has done the story the outfits that license Reuters news stories can pick it up and publish it.

Under these circumstances the story itself frequently/usually goes up verbatim, but the sub editors will give it a scan, figure out its punchiest points, and try to get that in the headline. So you can see how this sort of thing can make a spinmeister deeply happy, at very little expense - get the right rock into the right pool, and the ripples roll everywhere. Wire service stories aren't generally given a great deal of focus by the editorial hierarchy either, so the chances of somebody stepping in and saying, 'Is this news?' are minimised.

In this particular case, we've a couple of samples for you. We have:
Windows XP includes beefed-up security
Windows XP includes security add-ons
Microsoft beefs up security in Windows XP

All good stuff, and all perfectly above board. Everybody's doing their job, and the message Microsoft wants to get over, gets over. It's just the way things work, OK?

But we know what you still want to know, now you've read all these - is ICF actually any good? The Reg has yet to point the sometimes sinister Thomas C Greene at it looking for holes, but it does appear that ICF has some utility. It's a one-way firewall which blocks traffic from outside, so it'll be a godsend for newbies happily connecting their XP PCs to DSL. It doesn't block outgoings, so if you get a trojan you're still in trouble. It'll also make you more likely to get into trouble if you fall for spin that implies you're invulnerable with XP, so now you don't have to care.

There's a pretty good run-down of it here, if you'd like to find out more. ®

Related Stories:
Leaked MS email reveals WinXP, Xbox launch spin plans

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
Ploppr: The #VultureTRENDING App of the Now
This organic crowd sourced viro- social fertiliser just got REAL
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.