By Robert Hackett
August 13, 2016

The “silly season” is upon us – when the bosses are on vacation, and media wretches have to come up with something to say even as the news goes on holiday. Cyber, it turns out, may have a silly season of its own.

This week I asked Tom Patterson, Chief Trust Officer of security giant Unisys, what he is reading for news — and his answer was “nothing” until the hype over DefCon and BlackHat settles down.

Patterson says those events produce theoretical demonstrations that are soon spun into too many fantastical, sky-is-falling scare stories. Want an example? Patterson said the panic over the hacking of Volkswagen keys is a prime example of something that is technically possible, but far from a real world problem.

What do you think, readers? Does Patterson sound like a “get off my lawn” kind of guy — or does he have a point about too much hype over hacking?

I came to share some of his sentiment this week when I reported on an alleged cyber-threat to the 2016 election. If you saw the story, it probably screamed something like this:

But when I dug into the story, the real threat of hackers hijacking the election turned out to be basically zero. For now, corrupt party bosses stuffing ballots are a bigger threat than a sinister cyber army. (I’m not the only one who found this – Bloomberg also described the threat as “highly unlikely“).

On the other hand, as our round-up reflects, there’s is serious stuff to worry about. If you want to, that is — for now, my worries center on the right amount of mint to muddle into my julep. Have a great weekend, readers. Robert will be back with next week’s newsletter.

Jeff John Roberts


Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. You may reach Robert Hackett via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my, PGP encrypted email (see public key on my, Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.


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