Friday, June 17, 2005

Microsoft asks for help from hackers

REDMOND, Wash.--The random chatter of several hundred Microsoft engineers filled the cavernous executive briefing center recently at the company's sprawling campus outside Seattle.

Within minutes after their meeting was convened, however, the hall became hushed. Hackers had successfully lured a Windows laptop onto a malicious wireless network.

Matt Thomlinson, whose job it is to help make Microsoft engineers create more secure code, noticed that some of the engineers were turning red, becoming obviously angry at the demo hacking incident. Yet as painful as the lesson was, he was glad to see the crowd of engineers taking things personally.

Thomlinson frequently makes similar entreaties to the engineers on the need for secure code, but he said his own lectures don't have the same effect. "It kind of hits people up here," Thomlinson said, pointing to his head. "Things are different when a group of programmers watches their actual code exploited. It kind of hits people in the gut."

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