Friday, November 9, 2007

ScanSafe publicity hogs make hay over IndiaTimes malware

An Indian news and entertainment web-site is said to be serving malware to visitors to some sections of its site. Guess what – the PR firm of the security company, that detected the threat, is busy contacting journalists to write about the attack and presumably about the company, ScanSafe. They were even offering interviews with their researchers.

Thanks ScanSafe, but you would be doing everyone a service by contacting the Times of India group instead, and helping them resolve the problem !

Instead your folks are apparently trying to squeeze out mileage in the US media from somebody’s misfortune. All in the name of getting your advisory across to users of in India !!

ScanSafe’s cynical interest in publicity reflects the state of public relations these days in the corporate sector.

A few hours after a call center employee in Pune, India was raped and murdered by the driver of the cab dropping her home, another security company circulated a release informing people that this kind of crime will be avoided if call center companies deploy their technology that monitors staff and taxi activity.

I am sure the technology is worth looking at. But don’t you think it is in bad taste to take advantage of someone’s misfortune to push your product, and that too soon after the murder ?

When I was young, my parents always told me that charity had to be voluntary, and discreet, to respect the dignity of the recipients of the charity. The PR industry has broken that norm too. Most companies follow every little act of charity with a press release and media coverage, sometimes with snaps of the beneficiaries.

For those wanting more information on the malware at IndiaTimes here is a link to ScanSafe’s blog.


Anonymous said...

Maybe scansafe did contact the indiatimes, maybe it also stopped in the past other vectors spreading malware, maybe this has made the world a better safer place. So not all bad then.

Anonymous said...

They did contact someone, who said they were all on holiday (Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights) for the weekend, and refused to move the problem up the ladder or provide contact info for someone who might be able to fix the problems.

"Btw, we notified the India Times folks via email and by phone on Thursday. (Do you have any idea how late you have to stay up in the U.S. if you want to talk to someone in India?!). Unfortunately, the person we spoke with indicated that it was a holiday in India and they would be unlikely to fix the problem until Monday. They declined to provide us with another contact or to escalate our concerns. As a result, we felt compelled to contact the media."