How would you rather lose all your data? In a hurricane or a terrorist attack?

Virus or hard disk crash?  Die in a hurricane or a terrorist attack?

Does it matter?

I was having a conversation today about the irrationality of fear and how it applies to both the IT world and to the geopolitical scene.

First, the IT side.

How many of you have virus protection versus how many of you have online backup?

Ok, now here's the kicker.  How many of you have actually had a hard disk crash on you versus being the victim of an actual virus?

Many more people have virus protection than have any kind of online backup, but the reality is, you're probably just as, if not more likely to suffer a hard disk crash at some point.  Hard drives fail... they aren't built to last.  Yet, we keep pictures of our family on them, thesis papers, music... all sorts of important stuff.  No backup.  What if it crashes?  I dunno.

So why are we much more afraid of viruses than we are of bad hard drives?  I think its the malicious intention that prey on our fears most.  Bad guys are trying to get at your computer and steal or erase your files. 

Its an easier marketing sell.  Just ask the Bush administration.  (Here's the political part.)  While I may be a fan of fighting terrorism and into the idea of a stable Middle East, I'm not so blind that I can't see a little imbalance in how we spend our money.  Going down to New Orleans opened my eyes to the fact that Hurricane Katrina has killed at least half as many people as 9/11 did, possibly even more (still 3,200 people unaccounted for, many of whom probably got swept into Lake Ponchetrain or are still under the rubble), but we're not spending not nearly the amount of money nor the time and attention we are to preventing hurricane related deaths as we are fighting terrorism. 

That's because there's no enemy to fight.  Hurricanes are an act of God and you can't exactly try to blow up God.  (You can, however, mail him a letter.)  Without any easy answer to point to, to find some other problem to deal with and hope it never quite happens to us.  (That goes for both terrorist attacks and hard drive crashes.)

Its just an interesting paralell, that's all.


So does this make Symantec the Halliburton of the internet?  You might think that's far fetched, but has anyone seen the ThreatCon system on their homepage?

Perhaps my time is better spent backing up my levees...  errr... um...  my hard drive.