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Hackers and Media Hype or Big Hacks That Never Really Happened

Sunday, July 15, 2012: 11:00 am (Sassaman): Media will often report "hacks" that either never actually happened or have extremely flimsy evidence. They then become major news stories through media hype while the reality is seldom reported at the same level. This talk will closely examine several instances of such stories and compare the hype with the reality. Examples will include Kevin Mitnick's compromise of NORAD, the use of steganography by Al Qaeda, the electrical blackout in Brazil, the failure of a water pump in Illinois, and others. Close attention will be paid to the media's role in presenting these stories and how they morphed from purely circumstantial to quoted facts. The structure of a hyped story will be examined so that it can be easily identified and methods of combating the hype will be discussed.

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