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Every few days, we receive PR e-mails from one or more of the major antivirus companies. Usually, the subject line for such e-mails is something like, "WARNING! New unstoppable virus can only be stopped by our new anti-virus software!"

It really isn't a big deal. After all, these e-mails are no different from the messages we get from GPS manufacturers claiming anyone who doesn't have a GPS unit in their car will inevitably end up lost in the forest, fighting off rabid bears with a rusty can-opener. There's just something about tech companies that draws their PR departments to hyperbole.

But the reason we ignore the antivirus company PR e-mails isn't because they border on hysterical fear-mongering or because installing their software is often akin to letting a bloated maniac take your operating system hostage. No, we've always been weary of antivirus PR campaigns because, well, they simply weren't gangster enough.

Finally, Symantec has answered our prayers.

Recently, the company behind [what we can only assume is]the excellent Norton antivirus software decided to launch a truly relevant, reasonable and in no way unintentionally hilarious marketing campaign. It's called " Hack is Wack," and it features none other than noted cybercrime authority, Snoop Dogg.

Essentially, budding rappers are encouraged to submit short videos featuring their illest rhymes about the wackness of hackery. Users can then vote on the best ones, and the winner gets a prize.

That's right folks, the lucky winner gets to meet Snoop Dogg's "management team," presumably to discuss what it would be like to meet Snoop Dogg.

Certainly, the choice of Snoop Dogg as an anti-cybercrime spokesman is inspired. The rapper has frequently tackled the thorny subject of computer security in his hit records, such as this famous line from "Gin and Juice."

"I got [viruses in my computer]gettin it on And, they aint leavin till [I partition my network drive]"

There are many, many other examples, if you assume that "ounce" is street slang for "computer."

So far, there are about 50 videos up on the Norton competition website. Here are some of our early favourites to win it all:

  • "Why yes, I did once accidentally set my bedroom on fire by lighting one too many sensual mood candles. How did you know?
  • "Unfortunately, I can do nothing to " Blocka" the seizure."
  • "No, you rotate your camera."

But if you enjoy cringing in vicarious embarrassment, you're going to love all the videos on the site.

The important thing, however, isn't the big steaming pile of publicity Symantec has managed to generate for its Norton antivirus product. What's important is that computer users now have a great new resource of reliable information about computer security - in the medium of song. We fully encourage all our readers to support this cause by submitting their own rap videos to the contest. Remember, competition is stiff, so make sure to awkwardly mumble your hastily written, borderline-incoherent lyrics and to set the video mode on your 1994 model Web cam to "low-contrast earthquake."

And if you are lucky enough to meet Snoop Dogg's management team, please don't make any jokes about 1990s Snoop Dogg rolling in his grave.

 

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