Microsoft's AusCERT security lottery gets a laugh

Microsoft's AusCERT security lottery gets a laugh

Summary: For the second year in a row, Microsoft's Q&A session at AusCERT has been well worth attending -- but for the wrong reasons.Attendance at the session this year was well down compared to last year, when the same room was packed to the rafters.

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TOPICS: Security
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For the second year in a row, Microsoft's Q&A session at AusCERT has been well worth attending -- but for the wrong reasons.

Attendance at the session this year was well down compared to last year, when the same room was packed to the rafters.

With so many people wanting to ask questions last year, many were left disappointed. So in its infinite wisdom, this year Microsoft decided to address the problem with a bingo-style system where attendees were given a number on entering the session.

If their number was chosen out of a hat, the lucky delegate would win a prize. Err. I mean they would be allowed to ask a question to the panel, which included George Stathakopoulos, the Redmond-based general manager of product security, and Peter Watson, Sydney-based chief security advisor.

Watson picked out the first number from the hat and everything seemed to be working well. Someone asked a question, it was answered and everyone was happy.

But then, in old-school Microsoft style, the system crashed.

Watson called out the second number and nobody responded. The same thing happened for the third, fourth, fifth ... and then I stopped counting.

After about a dozen numbers with no response, finally one person stood up and waved around their winning ticket. A relieved Microsoft rep went over to the "winner" and handed him a mic.

The delegate went a peculiar shade of white and looked confused.

"I didn't know I had to ask a question," he said, as the rest of the room exploded in laughter. Yes, the "winner" thought he would be walking away with a freebie.

After this incident the panel wisely chose to drop the bingo system and revert back to a traditional Q&A format.

Microsoft will have to come up with something pretty special next year to top this year's performance.

Topic: Security

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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  • Yawn

    How about a constructive piece from you for a change%u2026
    anonymous