Waggener's goal is to minimize the PR damage that the worm will cause. This is potentially a very damaging story for them. Not so much because it underscores the dangers of an insecure, monocultural environment monopolizing our vital networks. Not even because of the embarrassing and ironic nature of the worm. More because it involves a hot button political topic -- Bush and, allegedly, China -- which the average reader will be interested in and might even almost understand.
So what's their battle plan?
Well, first Waggener will try to predict the yield. Our guesstimates as of right now, 11:36 PM EDT Thursday evening, are that it's a dud -- whitehouse.gov is still accessible and my IRC server hasn't gone down. This is probably because whitehouse.gov simply sidestepped its IP address (the stupid worm author hardcoded it instead of using DNS): White House dodges Web worm.
But at least 196,000 machines were infected. You'd think something would happen. Maybe a router will crash and Delaware will fall off the map. Who knows?
Second, Waggener will have an overall strategy. This might range from overhyping the potential danger ("turn off your computers! prepare for Armageddon! oh it didn't happen -- we saved you") to distraction with trivia ("we are pleased with the judges' verdict last week. look over there!"). How will the firm modify our reality?
Third, Waggener will use different approaches on different audiences. Reporters from different tech publications will talk to different handlers, and hear different things. Keep in mind which way these publications lean when you predict what their reactions will be.
Here's the contest. OSDN will be giving away four Slashdot T-shirts (or some other ThinkGeek shirt) to the four readers who most accurately predict newspaper headlines about the "Red Code" worm.
Headline on the Washington Times news story, Saturday morning
(label it: "WT News")Headline on the New York Times news story, Saturday morning
(label it: "NYT News")Title of the Washington Times editorial, Sunday morning
(label it: "WT Ed")Title of the New York Times editorial, Sunday morning
(label it: "NYT Ed")
Type up four guesses and submit them in a comment below. If your guess for any of the four is the closest in its category, you win a T-shirt!
For example, if our contest had been to predict headlines about global warming on July 19, and you'd said:
"WT News: Bush Visits Europe, Says Many Words Correctly
NYT News: Bush Promises Called Into Question
WT Ed: Good News on Global Warming
NYT Ed: Clueless on Global Warming"
...then you'd win, because you guessed the NYT editorial title correctly.
So put on your corporate-PR "spinning" caps, get out there and make us proud!
The Small Print:
- Top headline only, you don't have to predict subheads or whatever.
- In case of two stories/headlines, we pick the biggest one, our discretion.
- Up to four guesses to a post, one for each headline (post early, post often, but slow down cowboy!).
- One T-shirt to a person.
- Ties go to the f1rst p0st.
- No posts after the paper's out, of course (print or electronic, whichever's first) - first edition print is the goal.
- No OSDN/VA Linux employees or relatives eligible.
- You must either be logged in when you post or include one email address in your comment; email is how we'll contact you for your snail-mail address. Spamarmor it if you like, as long as we can read it.
- If for some crazy, absurd reason one of the papers doesn't run a story/editorial about this at all, we'll go looking for a "similar" paper's story/editorial and pick its headline. We're thinking L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal, that kind of thing. If the papers actually run stories today (Friday), well, darnit that wasn't much of a contest was it? We'll still look for editorials on Sunday.
- All judges' judgments are final.