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Hyper-Inflated Tech Stats Grow 217% Crazier

Every year we’re treated to the baseless boast that “up to a billion people” — one-seventh of the Earth’s population — watched the televised Academy Awards ceremony, even though this U.S.-centric event is lucky to draw a Nielsen-tabulated U.S. viewing audience of about 40 million. Where the other 960 million people are viewing from is anyone’s guess. Perhaps Oscar pools are all the rage from Rangoon to Rio, but common sense suggests otherwise. Yet that billion-viewers number makes it into press coverage of the event annually.

Hollywood and its cheerleaders were never much for truth telling, but the IT industry is also prone to spreading its own statistical lies and damn lies, or at least presenting specious extrapolations and wild exaggerations as if they’re fact. Several cases in point:

– A group of computer hackers, four of them Russian and one Ukrainian, inflicted “hundreds of millions of dollars” in financial harm on more than a dozen major companies over several years, according to an indictment announced on July 25 by the Justice Department, which characterized the alleged criminal enterprise as the largest of its kind ever prosecuted in the U.S.

While the feds cited a number of corporate victims — 7-Eleven, Dow Jones, Euronet, Heartland Payment Systems, Hannaford, JCPenney, JetBlue, NASDAQ and Wet Seal among them — they never did break down how they arrived at their multi-hundred-million-dollar cost estimate. They did, however, go out of their way to emphasize the Absolute Bigness of the information security threat in the most general terms.

Network Computing

Categories: General.

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