Why infosec can be like internet commentators

I try not to read the comments. Like ever. But often they are like those scabs you don’t recall getting. You know it would get better if you stopped picking at it, but your fingernails can’t resist the urge to scratch – that’s what fingernails are for aren’t they?

Every now and then, I read a well-written article. Often times it’s thought-provoking in some way, so I absent-mindedly keep scrolling down until I cross into the comments zone.


Screams the first commentator ever so proudly.

Then comes in the grammar police.

Followed closely by the pedants who pay close attention to detail and feel its their moral obligation to pen an essay pointing out all the factual inaccuracies.

The come the off-topic’ers. I don’t know if off-topic’er is even a word, but we live in a world where people communicate via memes and emoticons. If anything you should be thanking me for adding another word to the English dictionary.

That pretty much illustrates what an off-topic’er does. Derails the conversation into something off topic. Things begin to devolve into name-calling, personal insults and attacks against ones beliefs, friends or something else.

It’s sad, comments should be a great opportunity to have positive 2-way dialogue, educate and share opinions and contribute to a story. Instead, everyone loses. So people either turn off comments or just ignore them.


Infosec mirrors internet commentators in many ways. A new device / product / technology is created and someone will yell FIRST that they’ve broken, cracked or hacked it and how the world is about to end.

Then come the serious researchers who will criticise the methodology used, the circumstances or the means by which it was announced.

Not wanting to be left behind, the off-topic’ers will jump in. This group will often know nothing about the product hacked or the technique used. But they’ll kick up storm about how there needs to be regulation. Or some policies, or how compliance doesn’t work.

In the end everyone will call each other names.

Which makes it easier to just ignore them all rather than getting involved.