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A Look at Microsoft's Security War Room 199

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-can-they-call-jack-bauer dept.
Josh Fink writes "C|Net has an interesting piece about Microsoft's Security War Room, or rather, shall I say rooms. This room came about when Microsoft's security chief, Mike Nash, had issues finding open conference rooms. The response; a dedicated room only for him and his staff to handle emergencies. "And while he was at it, why not have two? That way, the folks working on fixing a security crisis could have a little breathing room from those drafting the public and customer communications around the issue. ""
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A Look at Microsoft's Security War Room

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  • by mseidl (828824) * on Monday December 03, 2007 @11:42AM (#21560331) Homepage
    "No Penguins Allowed"
    • Gentlemen there's no fighting in here. This is the war room.

      I imagine a bunker outfitted with state of the are iLoo's and binders labeled "targets in megadeath". Purity of essence!
    • by PPH (736903) on Monday December 03, 2007 @01:15PM (#21561317)
      That's on the front door only. How many back doors do these rooms have?
    • Warbling, Articulating Responses Room...

      Wide-Area Radioactivity Room
    • Please wear a helmet; look out for flying chairs.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hymer (856453)
      A more useful sign would be "No Executives allowed !" they usually fuck things up even more in a crisis.
      • by morcego (260031)
        As jokes go, that is a nice one. But on the upside, not always true.

        I have met some VERY competent executives. Great team leaders, which, before anything else, would not get on the way.

        Who usually screws things up is middle management.
    • Re:on the door? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:37PM (#21562415)

      I'm posting anonymously because of NDA implications. I used to work at a network security firm that supplied MS with a security console for detecting, investigating, and mitigating attacks on their network. (Hint, they use the same one as the Pentagon's network security war room.) This system relied upon certain defacto standards in their networking gear, but MS had purchased gear that did not support that feature, and were blocking much of their gear that did. MS's proposed solution, distribute a few hundred Linux boxes all through their network to serve as probes.

      It was an unworkable idea, and we eventually worked around their problems in a different way, but it does indicate that some of the head security guys at MS may not be as opposed to Linux as you'd think. So long as they don't have to make it public, they seem happy to use OSS. Note, the servers that provide their security system run a highly customized version of either OpenBSD or Linux, depending on which version they're using.

  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday December 03, 2007 @11:42AM (#21560333) Homepage Journal
    Anyone notice that all the swivel chairs are bolted to the ground? I wonder why they made them fixed and permanent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Kranfer (620510)
      Well, we all know that freedom of movement is something that needs to be taken seriously. Either that or they liked the idea from the Enterprise bridge... Just imagine Data and Wesley crusher pushing eachother around on rollable chairs... It would have brought havoc to the Enterprise and Picard would be forced to sick Worf on them... Maybe they just want to avoid Klingons destroying their security people? I dunno? Stationary employees are more well behaved and productive employees?
    • by gardyloo (512791)
      It's because there's no fighting in the War Room!
    • by darthflo (1095225)
      Heh. After a few minutes of looking at heavily zoomed in pic 4 (they don't seem bolted on), I got the ballmer/chair joke. Well done, sir, well done.
    • by ByOhTek (1181381)
      dunno, but the ripped up sections of floor suggest it wasn't terribly effective at keeping the floors and chairs connected. It must have been a powerful and angry force that removed them...
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Anyone notice that all the swivel chairs are bolted to the ground? I wonder why they made them fixed and permanent.

      Gentlemen, you can't throw chairs in here! This is the war room!
    • Its in case someone turns on a gravity hack.
  • by gerf (532474) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Monday December 03, 2007 @11:46AM (#21560365) Journal
    Viruses, backdoors, security holes, buffer overflows, trojans galore... and they get a room. Ooooh, they're so dedicated to security!
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Monday December 03, 2007 @11:47AM (#21560381)
    They have a big sign out front indicating security, but they don't even have locks on the kitchen cabinets.
  • by thelima (1045360)
    ...any windows there... ;)
  • Microsoft's top engineers relentlessly persue their war on security.
    • by Locutus (9039) on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:29PM (#21560783)
      Didn't Bill Gates declare essentially, 'Mission Accomplished', when they shipped Windows 2000? You know, saying it was the most secure version of Windows. Then again when Windows XP shipped and the grand finale when he declared Windows Vista as the most secure OS available. That's right, not the most secure version of Windows, but the most secure OS available!

      Is he retiring from Microsoft to run for President? He's got the ethics to do so. IMO.

      LoB
      • by davidsyes (765062)
        More like "Mission IMPOSSIBLE", really, really, impossible...
      • by bmajik (96670)
        a few points

        - the "mission accomplished" thing is overused and based on an inaccurate assumption. The "mission accomplished" banner was based on that particular ship completing some specific mission (# of deployments or years at sea or something along those lines), and was not a declaration of victory for the overall conflict.

        but that's not what your post is about..

        i have no reason to pay much attention to what bill gates says about windows releases, but there's nothing intrinsically false about sa
        • The "mission accomplished" banner was based on that particular ship completing some specific mission (# of deployments or years at sea or something along those lines), and was not a declaration of victory for the overall conflict.

          Yes it was. The other story is just the administration trying to backpedal after it became obvious to them what kind of quagmire we were in.

      • Vista is the most secure OS at the moment, because no bugger wants to run it.

        (Typing this from my dual boot ubuntu/vista laptop that spends all its time in ubuntu)
  • Two rooms (Score:5, Funny)

    by ShiningSomething (1097589) on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:06PM (#21560561)
    When I read there were two rooms, my first reaction was: one to work on the current security threat, a second to work on the security threats created by the first one...
  • by MiniMike (234881) on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:08PM (#21560581)
    It's a backup for when the first room crashes!
  • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:09PM (#21560585)
    In the cabinet containing food supplies it looks like they have the following available:
    • a bag of pretzels
    • a couple bottles of hersheys chocolate syrup
    • one can of soda or juice
    • a couple containers of nondairy creamer
    • 3 bottles that look like liquor bottles
    All that to feed a group of engineers that "gets hit with an emergency and has to pull an all-nighter."

    Sounds like a typical geek diet to me.
  • Post-op greasy haired poster-tranny 'Ina Fried' ....talk about needing a junk filter. Toss this 'reporter' out along w/goatse.
  • War rooms... (Score:3, Informative)

    by aicrules (819392) on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:12PM (#21560611)
    it's nice that it's so clearly stated exactly why there is this "war room". We have similar requests by various teams in our organization as if a war room is some amazing thing that you just can't live without. In reality it's almost always because some asshat can't be bothered to book meeting rooms in advance. If all the rooms are always booked, add more rooms. What you end up with is a room that no one else can use and except in dire situations, no one is using at ALL.
    • by secPM_MS (1081961)
      Microsoft is building and acquiring more office space in the Redmond/Bellevue/Seattle area, but there has been an ongoing shortage of meeting rooms for years. Mike Nash made sure that the security response team had space when they needed it. Is it an optimal use of space? No, but it is a reasonable one. For security reasons, the rooms are inacessible to normal MS staff, vendors, and visitors. Non-security response team members are admitted on a as-needed basis.
      • by aicrules (819392)
        Yes, eventually there was a better reason to have a separate room just for them. But as it states, the initial reason was just that poor widdle nashypoo had him some twubbles finding a conference room.
    • by threeturn (622824)
      Yep, typical land-grab by one group pleading "special needs" to take resources away from the rest of the organization.
    • What you end up with is a room that no one else can use and except in dire situations, no one is using at ALL.

      No kidding!

      Build enough conference rooms that they're slightly underbooked under normal circumstances -- so space is available for impromptu get-togethers -- and when a real crisis occurs, designate one or more Crisis Managers who have authority to commandeer any conference room for the duration of the crisis, regardless of who may have reserved the rooms.

  • by christurkel (520220) on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:18PM (#21560679) Homepage Journal
    There is no one in those rooms!
  • Disappointed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes@ x m s n et.nl> on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:18PM (#21560681)
    I expected this [gonet.cz], not some crummy office with a conference table.
    • by davidsyes (765062)
      Sure, now, that would be TOO hi-tech for even msoft.

      Maybe it should just look more like the Bat Cave... WITH the Penguin... and the Joker (can we add Falseface and the Left-Handed Man?).

      I say mod parent up to "4" + "Funny"
    • by bendodge (998616)
      Gimme a break; that's either an old military security systems monitoring room or a movie set. Probably a movie set.
      • by hcdejong (561314)
        Probably???
        That's NORAD, as seen in War Games. You can turn in your geek card on your way out.

        (oh, and -1, Whooosh!)
      • by Blakey Rat (99501)
        Dude, you've never seen Wargames? That's NORAD's master control room, at least as depicted in Wargames.

        If you listen to the DVD commentary, the director says he talked to an actual officer who did a stint at NORAD who told him that the movie version was actually very close to the actual version, with the exception that he got the DEFCON colors backwards. (In actual NORAD, DEFCON 5 is peace and 1 is war.) At the time the movie was made, that equipment was all classified. They were allowed to film the NORAD e
  • Why do I get a vision of Jack Bauer taking orders from Bill Gates to wipe some Chinese online terrorists off the map from some CTU-like complex?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Cro Magnon (467622)
      Considering how many moles are in CTU, I definitely see the resemblence to Microsoft security.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)
      Why do I get a vision of Jack Bauer taking orders from Bill Gates to wipe some Chinese online terrorists off the map from some CTU-like complex?

      Because you watch too much TV?
  • So it's not like the Maytag commercials where the old repair guy is reading a newspaper and bored for lack of work?
  • "You can't patch in here, this is the Microsoft Security War Room!"
  • I've been in a few war rooms, control centers, command centers, etc etc etc over the years. Even helped design one a little. 4 Flat screens is all they've got? Four? That's no war room. Scuffle closet maybe?
  • "Gentlemen, you can't patch sotware here! This is the security war room!"
  • What a non-story (Score:4, Insightful)

    by InlawBiker (1124825) on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:45PM (#21560951)
    Seriously, a few photos of a conference room? And Harvey Keitel and an espresso machine? This is just a room where people sit down to discuss issues. Just like in every office everywhere in the world, except this one has some TVs on the wall. Can I please have that 10 minutes of my life back?
  • Photoshop? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Andrewkov (140579)
    Someone should photoshop that first pic so that the Dell flatpanel shows either a BSOD or "All your base are belong to us" message.
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:53PM (#21561051)
    It seems fitting they have a picture of Harvey Keitel playing The Wolf character from Pulp Fiction hung on the wall.

    I've had to clean up after a large scale Microsoft failure a few times, and it the whole process did seem like going on "Brain Detail" in the back of a car.

    -ted
  • When you came pulling in here, did you notice a sign out in front of my house that said Dead Server Storage?

    (If you don't know what I'm talking about, RTFA ;) )
  • as modern technology should have replaced having to require dedicated meeting rooms... aren't videoconferencing and whiteboard software up to the task yet??? It should enable people to have meetings across several timezones without having to go to the trouble of all traveling to one place...

    or is this just some form of juvenile office politics... look, my meeting must be important, all these people had to drop everything to come to it...
  • one of the biggest software companies in the world got not only one, but two unused conference rooms!

    I smell a Pulitzer on its way.
  • by sootman (158191)
    A picture of Harvey Keitel from Pulp Fuction? [news.com] What, no Dr. Strangelove pics available?

    Also, I have to wonder how wise it is for C|Net to post that picture in light of this article, [slashdot.org] especially since it bears the legend "(C) CNET Networks."
  • That way, the folks working on fixing a security crisis could have a little breathing room from those drafting the public and customer communications around the issue.

    Basically, they separated the urinals from the stalls.

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