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The worm that turned vicious

Risk management meets spin-doctoring in a new product called prompt rps – reputation protection system (a capital idea, but with no capital letters). Devised by PR firm Hill & Knowlton, it brings together experts from Deloitte & Touche, lawyers Clifford Chance, security group Kroll Associates and health & safety advisers Dames & Moores. The basic system is a browser-style piece of software that allows companies to self-assess their exposure to such risks as fraud, product failure and takeover bids and to create a crisis management team.

One of the more frightening anecdotes that prompt rps tells to scare us into subscribing is the story of the bunch of hackers who managed to install into a large company’s system a 124 byte “worm” that doubled in size every time the disk head moved. The gang demanded $6m in return for the software cure. When the victim asked for proof that the cure actually works, the hackers gave the names of ten Fortune 1000 companies as referees.

Now that’s scary.

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