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10/24/2007
10:12 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Cybersecurity Redux: How Appealing Is Free Beer For The Rest Of Your Life?

Your head of security calls you at 3 a.m. to tell you that a company laptop stuffed with thousands of personal-data records has been stolen. To get that laptop back safely, what would you be willing to offer: How about a lifetime supply of beer?

Your head of security calls you at 3 a.m. to tell you that a company laptop stuffed with thousands of personal-data records has been stolen. To get that laptop back safely, what would you be willing to offer: How about a lifetime supply of beer?That's exactly what a brewery in New Zealand is proposing in exchange for the safe return of a stolen laptop, according to a recent news story on Ars Technica. The purloined PC contained financial records, contract details, and other confidential material, according to the story:

"In an attempt to get the laptop back, the brewery is offering a somewhat unusual reward: a lifetime supply of free beer. Whoever fingers the thief will get a 12-pack per month (a bit skimpy, perhaps) for the rest of their days, according to the BBC. That beer could really come in handy for a dedicated Kiwi rugby fan trying to erase the memory of the All Blacks' spectacular flame-out in the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup two weekends ago."

I say the Croucher Brewing Co. deserves a lot of credit for not making some wimpy offer of something like a one-time case of its Hef wheatbeer ("evokes memories of a beer milkshake") or a few six-packs of its Pale Ale ("Passionfruit and lychees predominate with a stonefruit undertone -- fruit salad on weetbix."). Then again, given those descriptions, maybe a reward of a single six-pack would have been more effective than the lifetime offer.

Underscoring the low-tech threats facing laptop owners, the brewer's Web site says the trouble started the old-fashioned way:

"Our brewery was broken into the night of Monday 15th of October, and the company laptop was stolen. The laptop had lots of info about our business that is important to us, but of no real value to anybody else ... So instead of sitting on our hands hoping against hope that it would be found, we decided to offer a reward ... if someone finds the laptop and returns it with all files and data in-tact, we will supply that person with one dozen Croucher Brewing boutique beer every month for the rest of their life! That is *not* a typo."

Here's hoping the laptop finds its way home, AND that the prize-winner rewards himself with something other than the fruit-salad-on-weetbix.

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