Computer security cryptic crossword

In April, at the Infosec show in London, Sophos gave away a free newspaper including all kinds of interesting articles about computer security. It was a big hit (download it as a PDF, if you didn’t manage to pick up a copy).

On the back page there was a cryptic crossword, with answers of a decidedly computer security nature.

Surprisingly, no-one managed to complete the crossword! Now, we know it was very cryptic but surely there are some brainboxes out there who can finish it?

So, if you’re the first person plucked out of the hat to have sent us the complete solution we’ll not only give you a free Sophos fleece and a limited-edition Sophos-branded cool-bag, we’ll also tell the world how clever you are!

Just send your answers to (Sorry, the competition is now closed. Check out the solution to the puzzle).

Happy puzzling! And special thanks to John Hawes, Technical Consultant & Test Team Director at Virus Bulletin for putting the crossword together.



1. Near-terminal symptoms started after first message found in briefcase – such files in the mail should be handled with care (11)
9. Start controlling information found in lamb roast (1,1,1)
10. Codes for recognising people in hats, conclusion of talk put forward (8)
13. Scamming software makes unlikely claim first taken from shoe (5)
14. With me around, German motor comes after environment friendly online business (9)
15. Compression/encryption tool to stow the Queen? (6)
18. Message daemon gets back into fat man (1,1,1)
20. “Mebroot” rootkit hides vehicle certifi cate, showing river in Spain (4)
22. Two terms of cricket produce common form of 5 (7)
23. Workstation table surface? (7)
24. Hex editor contains program extension (3)
25. Parasite from 2001 is large ruminant with energy force (6)
26. Selects, we hear, the Spanish spot on screen (5)
28. Guy gets mixed up with fool, search for space being professed purpose of agency intrusion (7)
29. Even upstart can fi nd name record indicator (1,1,1)
30. Charge into memory (3)
31. Attempt to follow man is vital place to store configuration data (8,3)


2. Pile of stones on hilltop form anonymising system (3)
3 and 11d. Mud-plastered tumbler is most popular tool for handling documents (5,7)
4. Security subverter becomes Vanity Fair writer after falling in Tay (6)
5. Attack taking advantage of flaw gets one involved in former scheme (7)
6. Targeted attacks can overcome most anti-virus, if started where Bing Crosby did (6)
7. Underwater vessel comes up to fi nd data transfer system (3)
8. Clever Penny sharpens hand-held tools with many uses (5,6)
11. See 3d
12. Code analysis tools remodel pics in disarray (11)
16. Tartan total for simple integrity measure (8)
17. Wear away outside of first-rate green-skinned monster to find fault identifier (5,4)
19. Excellent archive format (3)
21. Half of 10? (3)
23. Unscramble German burial place (7)
26. Go-between provides speed or privacy as pyro gets confused around ten (5)
27. Norse god replaces thousand with first formers, producing poor-quality sound or loop device (4)
29. Distant boots provided by pixies, oddly (1,1,1)