An example of how the misinformed media misinforms the public

  • Author:xnite
  • Date:2016/12/06

I stumbled across an article today on HackRead that I could tell the writer clearly did not do their research (or math). Here’s an excerpt..

After observing the heavy attack traffic that literally peaked at 172MBPS, which means about a million data packets per second or 400 gigabits per second,HackRead

Let’s take a moment to think about this for a second… The attack “peaked at 172MBPS”, and the author says this means “about a million data packets per second”. Someone with a decent knowledge of computers knows that MBPS stands for Megabytes per second, as opposed to Megabits per second which would be Mbps. We don’t typically measure bandwidth usage in megabytes, but instead megabits. This is a common mistake and it’s forgivable, but things get really confusing. Whether the author meant 172MByte/s or 172Mbit/s doesn’t matter, because this does not translate to 1 million packets per second. It’s also important to point out that neither 172Mbyte or 172Mbit is anywhere near 400Gbit, not even close. After reading

Cloudflare’s post, I realized that the author meant was 172MPPS (Million Packets Per Second). Well, this just isn’t right either because 172 million packets per second is not “about a million data packets per second”.

After seeing this author having clearly not done their research, or math, correctly it made me think how many times a news organization has put something out as fact when it’s really misinformation. Think about it… Not everyone understands tech like some of you reading most likely do. To the average newb nothing seems out of the ordinary about this article and they will carry on being misinformed about the subject.

So the moral of the story? If you’re going to be a tech writer then learn about the tech you are writing about. If you, as the author, are misinformed or fail to do all of your research then you will only misinform the public and contribute to the problem of computer illiteracy. I think as a tech writer you should be informing people and helping them understand the subject, not misinforming them and giving them the wrong understanding of the subject.

Robert Whitney
I'm a geek, gamer and breaker of things. I'm a programmer by day and an apache attack helicopter by night. Some would call me their spirit animal.
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