Quiz: Who Done IT? A Murder Mystery

How to take the quiz: - After reading the question, click on the answer that you think is correct

It's a mess. Victims everywhere you look. People slumped at their computers, networks unraveling, browsers hijacked, disappearing e-mail. Your job: Analyze the scene, solve the crime.

1. Does that strange blue glow from one computer screen mean anything? But first we have to figure out what to call it.
[Clue: The computer is not a Mac.]
Answer.

2. Probably just a blue herring. Let's look at one of the bodies and it's not going to be pretty. What will we call the thoughts of the network administrator that have been strewn all over the carpet?
[Clue: You do one of these when you need to pass on everything you know about something.]
Answer.

3. Aha! This programmer's body is riddled with spaghetti code. Could it be that he was assaulted by a . . . ?
[Clue: They don't make programs more popular than this kind. This kind will really slay you.]
Answer.

4. And suppose the program got fed up with this programmer and turned the tables on him? Hmmm. That could mean that this programmer was doing some . . . ?
[Clue: If you're trying to fix a program, you may want to try several approaches at once to see if one of them works.]
Answer.

5. But wait! There! On the carpet as big as anything! Probably about size 12-D, we'd say.
[Clue: Robinson Crusoe found one of these that Friday had left behind. The one he found had toes, though.]
Answer.

6. Possibly it's time for scientific tools. Let's recreate everything with drawings and move them around using . . . (darn it, we forget what we call this; can you help?)
[Clue: Two words, we remember that. The first word means "science used in law" and the second means "the process of making things look alive." I mean how helpful can we get? We just can't remember it ourself or is it ourselves?]
Answer (thanks!).

7. One of the computers in this room is still alive, it looks like. In fact, it looks suspiciously like Suspect #1 because it happens to be a . . . ?
[Clue: These servers are relatively thin and a bit cutting-edge. The answer is not Ockham's razor, by the way.]
Answer (gulp!).

8. However, as we all know, it's never going to be Suspect #1. And besides we just noticed a page of the calendar has been torn off the wall and Victim #3 is holding it clutched in her hand. On the page someone has scrawled with photonic ink the words "Black Tuesday." Which someone on our crime scene investigation team just happens to recall is known as . . . ?
[Clue: It's the day in the month that Microsoft comes out with all its "fixes."]
Answer.

9. Cancel the investigation. Someone just came in and said that they did it. They didn't give us their last name but we know what it is. Their first name was "Jack" and middle initial "T." We doubt that you'll be able to figure out his last name.
[Clue: This program is used to burn music files to a CD.)]
Answer.

10. Although we did get lucky this time, we nevertheless believe in using all the tools at our command, including that of our crime-fighting brains. Time and again, we learned it's the only way to come up with an . . . ?
[Clue: Hercules Poirot often comes up with this kind of solution. That's why we always dress up on the job.]
Answer.

Did You Make Our Crime Team?

This was really a test to see whether you deserve to join our IT Crime Team, solving crime wherever it exists in cyberspace. If you got all 10 answers correct or even, say, 8 or 9 of them, we'll consider you for Monday night's program. If you got 5 to 7 right, maybe one of the other nights. Fewer than 5, we think you need to go back to your local IT crime-fighting school but that doesn't mean you can't come back later for our next quiz.
See all our quizzes

This was first published in September 2005

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