Fight FUD (with chocolate?)

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FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
A tactic to undermine a competitor by using negative or false information.

This week's word is courtesy of Charles. I know it's actually an abbreviation, but I haven't set rules for my weekly word. It started out as the subject for one email, and I'm having fun with it.

FUD in the IT world

According to Wikipedia, this term goes back at least a century. It's often used in the context of sales and public relations. But for many people, it is strongly associated with the IT world. IBM, and later Microsoft, were infamous for their FUD marketing tactics.

FUD is also used in tech support scams. These scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer, like a virus. They want you to pay for tech support services you don't need, to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

FUD and security during the pandemic

Covid-19 has increased our level of fear and uncertainty. It might be the only way to explain the panic buying of toilet paper. (In the 15 months since our first lockdown, my local supermarket has always had toilet paper.)

You may have heard that there's been a huge increase in cyber attacks since the pandemic started. There seem to be two reasons for this:

  • Remote working expands the potential attack surface. Many of our employees have little experience with basic IT safety protocols. This makes security much harder.
  • Social engineering tactics use our fears. Pandemic-themed phishing attacks and hacking campaigns have increased. Attackers take advantage of the online demand for information about Covid-19.

Fight the FUD factor

Sometimes FUD is real. Covid-19 has reminded us that the future is unknown. We had planned our lives on the assumption that tomorrow would be like today. Now we all have to deal with the fear, uncertainy and doubt of not knowing what will happen next.

You can find many tips on how to deal with FUD on the web. But here is my personal favourite:

Generate short-term wins.

And a great short-term win is training. Knowledge and skills empower us. And when you invest in your developers' learning, you recognise their value. (Remember the S in SPACE that I mentioned in a previous post.)

Happy World Chocolate Day

This has nothing to do with FUD. Charles told me about the Krispy Kreme special for World Chocolate Day, and now it's hard to concentrate.

On the other hand, chocolate is a great short-term remedy for most things, including FUD.

I'd love to hear your comments on this. Please share your thoughts - and any suggested words

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