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Microsoft Challenge - Hack me if you can

recently invited hackers to descend upon Redmond for a chance to exploit Windows code openly. The event was billed as "Blue Hat" in reference to the popular Black Hat conferences that provide a public forum for security professionals and the hacking community to interface.

The two-day Microsoft affair was another step toward Bill Gates' claim that Microsoft will create more secure products. Currently, the software giant estimates a third of its research budget -- US$2 billion dollars -- is spent annually on security-related matters.

However, not all security professionals think the strategy of meeting with hackers will be effective for the company. "I see all these things as somewhat sad attempts to pander to the media's love of hacking, and a bit of wishful thinking along the lines of 'maybe if we're nice to the hackers they'll be nice to us in return,'" is how Marcus Ranum, chief security officer of Tenable Network Security and inventor of the proxy firewall, described the event. [Via]

The engineers realized that hackers are no longer geeky teenagers with nothing better to do, but educated and seasoned technology professionals just like themselves. Likewise, security researchers gained a better perspective of the processes Microsoft engineers must go through when faced with vulnerabilities divulged by the hacking community.