The Screwed Reporting and Presentation of Cybersecurity News Is Harmful
Western tradition media continues to fail how to deliver cybersecurity news. They deliver them the same way as other mainstream news categories, to assume the principle of “there are two sides of the story, and we will choose 1 that fits our agenda.” This is a big mistake, similar to a regular news article, one party may have been harmed while the other may have benefited with the interaction. In a cybersecurity issue, the already damaged reputation of the victim further intensifies the more their problem is reported, twisted and sensationalized by the media.
When a news story is disclosed to the public, only facts should be laid-out, not editorialized and not twisted to favor the agenda of the news network’s patrons. With cybersecurity-related news, every time the name of the victim company gets mentioned, the more damage in its reputation is absorbed, media practitioners may either don’t know that or choose to ignore it in order to reach the goal of making that story viral.
There are times that western traditional media invite guests of good stature to talk about the news story, but it is still cringy to watch as the guests were given not enough time to explain the issues. Also, due to the lack of knowledge of the hosts/news anchors, they tend to ask their expert guests basic 101 questions instead of asking direct relevant questions during the interview. Seems like the news programs own researchers have forgotten to do their job, to actually research the basics of the topic to be discussed before the anchors and their guests goes live on-air.
The choice of guests is also questionable since most of the time they are usually not neutral at all. Yes, they may be experts in their fields, but employed by an entity that has bias interest with the news story itself. This screwed the objectivity of news delivery big time, and the discussion moves to the direction that the news outlet wants it to be in the first place. An IT security issue is very complex, even a 1,000-word article can never explain it in plain English, let alone ignorant hosts trying to extract relevant information from the guests IT experts in a mere 5 to 15 minutes at most.
One bad habit of a news outlet is focus the cybersecurity news story by concentrating to knowing “who” or “what” perpetuated the hack, virus infection, data breach, phishing event and etc.. It is very unproductive use of time for an already time-limited show, perhaps news outlets should instead concentrate on what actions that the victims and the government that regulates the industry have to do to prevent it from recurring.
Focusing too much on “who” or “what” is behind the storyline. This makes the cybersecurity news politicized like any other mainstream news. How many times that countries like North Korea, China, Russia, and Pakistan being named by a western media outlet of being the “alleged” perpetrators of a cyber attack against a western country?
This needs to change, the idea of empowering the viewers on how “not to become the next victim” should be the focus when news anchors break a cybersecurity story to the public. This way, the already time-constrained news program will be very beneficial to those that may become the next victims.
Julia Sowells492 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.