Feeds

‘WinXP beefs up security’ story goes viral on Web

And this is how it works...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.