Stay alert for "prize offers" over the New Year's holiday

Filed Under: Law & order, Malware, Mobile, Privacy

Are you working over New Year, like Sophos Support and SophosLabs?

If so, here's a bit of fun - official, educational fun - to tide you over the hours when everyone else is taking your presence in the office for granted.

A crossword puzzle for computer geeks!

You can solve the puzzle online or using a downloadable PDF.

If you complete the puzzle successfully, whether on-screen on on paper, capture a screenshot, take a picture with your mobile phone or scan it in, and email it to me.

The first ten correct entries received before the end of the first Friday in January, i.e. before 2011-01-07T23:59:59-12 in RFC3339 notation, will win a Sophos multi-function pocket knife.

If you get stuck, your favourite search engine will help you greatly. If you are still stuck, try emailing me for hints.

PS: Sophos staff and family are encouraged to enter - why not prove your skills publicly? - but are not eligible to win prizes. (You can, however, purchase a pocket knife from Marketing for $24.95. Or a six-pack of Guinness. The 440ml tins with the widget, cheers.)

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7 Responses to Stay alert for "prize offers" over the New Year's holiday

  1. Sophos Marketing · 1706 days ago

    How dare you raid the marketing cupboard without permission! There are also some lovely Sophos picnic blankets available....

    • Paul Ducklin · 1706 days ago

      I would prefer to say that I accessed the repository of authorised customer-facing merchandise with a view to providing prizes which were useful without having sufficient value that they would need to be declared to Taxation or, as appropriate, to the Public Service's 'Register Of Known Bungs'.

      More of a sortie than a raid.

  2. Paul Ducklin · 1706 days ago

    One down, nine to go!

    First correct answer received at 2010-12-31T13:40:02+10 (3.40 am Zulu time)

    (From the time zone, looks like a Queenslander. One for the Maroons. That's the first prize gone. Well done.)

    Second correct answer received 13 minutes and 18 seconds later at 2010-12-30T19:53:20-8 (3.53am Zulu time)

    (Family of a Sophos employee from British Columbia. Excellent work, but no prize allowed.)

    Keep 'em coming.

    • Mrs. W · 1705 days ago

      w00t! That was me (for 2nd), with nary a hint from Mr. W.
      If I can't claim a prize, at least I shall claim my
      bragging rights. :)

  3. Paul · 1706 days ago

    What does this mean?

    The first ten correct entries received before the end of the first Friday in January (2010-12-31T23:59:59-12) will win...

    • Paul Ducklin · 1705 days ago

      Check out RFC3339 - Date and Time on the Internet: Timestamps. ( I meant to give a date and time in that notation, but I completely messed it up by giving a date in 2010 :-) Sorry. I have updated the article accordingly.

      I meant to write:


      Which is interpreted like this:

      year - month - day T hour : minute : second timeoffsetdirection timeoffsetamount

      That avoids the potential ambiguity of AM versus PM, of EST (American) versus EST (Australian), of 12/31 versus 31/12 notation, and so forth.

      So it is:

      11.59.59 pm (23:59:59) on 07 January 2010, in the timezone UTC minus 12 hours (the last official timezone, 12 hours _behind_ Greenwich).

      In truth, "any time next week" is OK. But half the prizes are gone already...

      Apologies for the botchup. I used a fancy, unambiguous notation, but got the raw data all wrong!

  4. Paul Ducklin · 1705 days ago

    As several people pointed out, in the JavaScript version of the puzzle, the clue: "A place where skimmers hang out (4)" should be: "A place where skimmers hang out (4,4)".

    And: "Randomising this may improve security (8,5)" should be: "Randomising this may improve security (7,6)".

    I fixed those errors in the PDF version, but not in the JavaScript code. Apologies. The on-line version has been updated.

    PS: there are stil a couple of prizes left. Several participants are very close - and now relying on my goodwill for hints - so keep 'em coming. If there is sufficient interest, I may raid the marketing store again for more prizes. (Bet they're regretting showing me where the key is kept.)

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About the author

Paul Ducklin is a passionate security proselytiser. (That's like an evangelist, but more so!) He lives and breathes computer security, and would be happy for you to do so, too. Paul won the inaugural AusCERT Director's Award for Individual Excellence in Computer Security in 2009. Follow him on Twitter: @duckblog