Sometimes we know we're on to a great story because we see it unfold in person and witness the audience reaction. Last April at the Windows & .NET Magazine Connections 2004 conference and expo, editorial content manager Amy Eisenberg and I sat in on contributing editor Alan Sugano's session about how to plan a "hack attack" to exploit a system's weaknesses. Alan demonstrated some of the cracking techniques that hackers use to break into a company's network, then presented countermeasures to deploy to reduce exposure. The attendees were totally engaged and offered up their networks for Alan to attack, and we knew we had to capture that excitement for the magazine.

So, check out our cover story, "You've Been Hacked! Now What?" on page 40. Alan provides smart and practical advice about how to detect, disable, and--most important--recover from an ugly network attack.

If you want to catch Alan in person, you have two opportunities this month. Alan will hold an online chat on October 13, 2004, at 12:00 noon EST to let you pick his brain about hacking. (For more information, go to http://www.windowsitpro.com, enter 43875 in the InstantDoc ID text box, and click the link for the chat in the Interact! area.) Later in the month, Alan will present several sessions at the Microsoft Exchange Connections 2004 & Windows Connections 2004 conference and expo to be held October 24­27, in Orlando, Florida. (For more information or to register for the conference, go to http://www.winconnections.com.)

In the cover story's accompanying IT Pro Hero sidebar, "Lessons from the Cyber Trenches," page 41, veteran contributing editor Paula Sharick, who's been with the magazine since 1995, relates a personal experience in fighting network intruders. Paula walks you through her week-long sleuthing saga that helped her win the battle ... but unfortunately, ultimately lose the war.

Beginning September 28, contributing editor Brett Hill, a Microsoft IIS MVP, consultant, and technical trainer, will host a blog about thwarting hackers and resolving other security issues. I invite you to take part in this opportunity to interact with Brett and your IT pro colleagues over the next 3 months. (Go to http://www.windowsitpro.com, enter 43875 in the InstantDoc ID text box, and click the link for the blog in the Interact! area.)

Meet Michael (Mike) Otey
Do you know Mike? Perhaps through his Top 10 columns, his editorials in SQL Server Magazine (http://www.sqlservermag.com), his many technical books, or because you've run into him at the magazine's Best of Show awards at TechEd? Mike Otey is the technical director for Windows IT Pro and has been writing for our company's computing publications since 1987. Before coming to Windows NT Magazine in 1997, Mike worked on iSeries News, our company's magazine that supports IBM midrange computers.

Mike's expertise is not only broad but extraordinarily deep. Mike is indispensable: Because of his technical mastery and industry connection, we count on Mike to ensure the technical accuracy and relevance of our content. His background working as an IT pro for small, medium, and large organizations supporting a variety of platforms gives him a perspective that's particularly valuable to the magazine and the industry.

This month in Top 10: "New Features in Windows XP SP2," page 79, Mike looks beyond Windows Firewall to uncover some hidden gems in the long-awaited XP SP2. A previous Top 10 column, "Windows XP Support Tools," InstantDoc ID 41672, has been one of the magazine's most popular columns year to date on our Web site--if that's any indication, you won't want to miss this month's Top 10!

Also this month, on page 31, Mike reviews a neat little open-source spam filter: SourceForge.net's POPFile. The product isn't completely problem-free, but Mike's straightforward analysis can help you determine whether this desktop antispam solution for POP-based email is right for you.

If you don't know Mike, look up his articles online, check out his books, and watch for him at industry trade shows and events. Please feel free to contact him at mikeo@windowsitpro.com. He'd love to hear from you, learn about problems you're encountering, or discover new products you think are particularly valuable to your organization.