The Heartbleed bug : insecurity repackaged, rebranded and resold

BANKS, James (2015). The Heartbleed bug : insecurity repackaged, rebranded and resold. Crime, Media, Culture, 11 (3), 259-279.

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The emergence of a post-industrial information economy shaped by and around networked communication technology has presented new opportunities for identity theft. In particular, the accidental leakage or deliberate harvesting of information, via either hacking or social engineering, is an omnipresent threat to a large number of commercial organisations and state agencies who manage digital databases and sociotechnical forms of data. Throughout the twenty-first century the global media have reported on a series of data breaches fuelling amongst the public an anxiety concerning the safety and security of their personal and financial data. With concern outpacing reliable information a reassurance gap has emerged between the public's expectations and the state's ability to provide safety and security online. This disparity presents a significant opportunity for a commercial computer crime control industry who has sought to position itself as being able to offer consumer citizens the antidotes for such ills. This paper considers how neoliberal discourses of cybercrime control are packaged, branded and sold, through an examination of the social construction of the Heartbleed bug. It demonstrates how security company Codenomicon masterfully communicated the vulnerability, the product of a simple coding error, through its name, a logo and an accompanying website, in turn, shaping news coverage across the mainstream media and beyond.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Law Research Group
Identification Number:
Page Range: 259-279
Depositing User: James Banks
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2015 13:10
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 04:59

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