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The Media Security

CNET Pranked By Web Site's Fake 'All Out War' Hack During DEFCON ( 22

In a piece describing the paranoid vibe in Las Vegas during the DEFCON convention, CNET reported Friday that the Wet Republic web site "had two images vandalized" with digital graffiti. But their reporter now writes that "my paranoia finally got the best of me, and it turned out to be an ad campaign."

The images included a scribbled beard and eye patch on a photo of bikini model, along with the handwritten message "It's all out war." CNET's updated story now reports that "It looked like a prank you'd see from a mischievous hacker..." When I spotted the vandalism on the Wet Republic site Friday morning, it looked like other attacks I'd seen throughout the week, such as a Blue Screen of Death on a bus ticket machine... Hakkasan, which hosts the event at MGM Grand, said the "vandalism" was part of the cheeky advertisements for a seasonal bikini contest it's been running since 2015. The "all-out war" is between the models in the competition, not between hackers and clubs. Hakkasan's spokeswoman said nothing on its network has been compromised.

So maybe not everything online in Las Vegas is getting hacked this week, and this n00b learned to calm down the hard way.

For that matter, maybe that blue screen of death was also just another random Windows machine crashing.

CNET's reporter made one other change to his article. He removed the phrase "when hackers are in town for Defcon, everything seems to be fair game."
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CNET Pranked By Web Site's Fake 'All Out War' Hack During DEFCON

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  • A blue screen of death is not evidence of a hack, either. It's just evidence that they're running Windows. It's not if, it's when. KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR is more likely a problem with a storage device than the result of a hacking attempt. But what do you expect from CNET?

  • Confirmation bias, otherwise known as when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. He was expecting to see a hacked page, so he convinced himself he saw one and wrote it up. Luckily, most journalists (and highly educated people in general) are immune to this effect due to their sophisticated critical thinking techniques. I'm glad this is only a problem in a ghetto like IT journalism.
  • I'm not understanding how this would have been worth 'reporting' if it had happened, less so now that nothing actually happened.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is more news worthy than the original story, because it clearly demonstrated how little checking went on in traditional news media, exposing the lie that these media are some kind of "credible" source.

  • Like CNET had been hacked, I admit i felt a little bad, picking on CNET is like picking on the slow kid in class,,,

  • Mission accomplished! Modern "journalism" is all about getting you to click and share, not about actually giving you any news. I saw this story all over my Twitter feed. Tabooa and the "Wait 'til you see what the Baywatch stars look like today!" are the new normal.

    Or was it always this way? How many times have you read a story about a subject you know a lot about and see what all they got wrong? Just now there was yet another story about lack of rural broadband in middle-of-nowhere Colorado that Slashdot pi

  • Is CNET is a tabloid that has no editorial overview at all, and their writers can just post whatever stories they want? I'm just asking. I don't go there.
    • The short answer is yes. The only guy they seem to have over there with two brain cells to rub together is Brian Cooley (CNET on Cars) but I don't watch even his videos regularly because... they're mixed in with all the other CNET videos, and be fucked if I'm going to subscribe to CNET.

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