WMF and blocking

On December 29, 2005, in Security, by

As many have pointed out …the instructions for blocking ‘just’ the WMF extensions won’t protect me if the threat vector comes in via renamed files…. but I think folks are missing the point here.  NPR the other morning had a news report on the communication regarding the potential for a Bird Flu Pandemic.  They discussed how there’s a fine line between communication and ‘freaking someone out’.  And they said that when a person get communication that helps them act on something so that they feel part of the solution, that person feels calmer. 

I think this occurs in Security communication as well…..that’s exactly what’s going on here…there’s a psychological affect of “me” taking proactive measures to block what I know I can easily do at the border.

“Lanard and Sandman say risk communicators must walk a tightrope. On one side is the risk of promoting irrational fear. On the other side is irrational complacency. The goal is to instill appropriate fear that gets people to take appropriate precautions.

Lanard says accomplishing this means presenting information that is accurate, complete, and often frightening.

“Good information should increase the level of fear in people that haven’t been thinking about it at all,” she says. “It should decrease the level of fear in people who are over-imagining how bad it could be.”

Sandman and Lanard say that in the short run, individuals can do far more than the government to protect themselves.

For example, he says, people can keep extra food in case a pandemic disrupts distribution systems. They can prepare to work from home, in case it becomes hazardous to be in contact with other people. They can learn proper hand washing techniques to keep from spreading the virus.

And Sandman says there’s another reason for the government to involve the public in any bird flu preparations.

“Everything that’s known about the psychology of fear tells us that people can tolerate more fear if there is something for them to do,” he says. “So it’s not just inaccurate for the government to imply that the government will take care of it. It’s not only getting in the way of the public’s beginning to take preparedness more seriously. It’s getting in the way of the public’s ability to endure the threat of the pandemic itself.””

…see the correlation between Pandemic communication and Security communication here?  So give me something to do…even as stupid as building a block for WMF files and I won’t feel as scared.  Give me a role and I feel like I’m helping.  Make me feel dependent on things I can’t control and I do freak out.

Communicate with me…give me something to do….and I feel better.


One Response to WMF and blocking

  1. Alun Jones says:

    There’s an old argument that programmers often use:

    Don’t catch an error that you don’t know how to handle, and don’t handle an error that you don’t know how to catch.

    If your filtering cannot protect you adequately, you will simply need to cross your fingers until a patch comes out, your filtering gets stronger, or you get hit by something. Chances are, you won’t get hit – this is not a worm-capable issue.

    In the meantime, practice safe surfing.