In a controversial move sure to put the company square in the crosshairs of every hacker on the planet, Microsoft Corporation announced this week that it had successfully beaten off a "syn-flood" hacker attack Tuesday. As the Register's John Lettice notes, the company might have been better served by keeping the matter quiet. The attack, which is designed to bring a Web site to its knees by overloading processor capability, did little to slow down, let alone crash, the heavily clustered Microsoft Web site. The company says that it suffered only a 3-7% slowdown for a short period of time. "It was very minor, to be honest, so some people saw some slowdowns," said Microsoft spokesperson Adam Sohn. "We have a ton of overhead on this site. We can support terabytes and terabytes of downloads."

The attack on Microsoft is the latest in a series of Web site attacks in recent weeks. Most of the previous attacks, which crippled Web sites such as Yahoo and eBay, were denial of service (DOS) attacks, which are designed to overload a Web server, making it incapable of serving actual users. Investigators have yet to pinpoint the culprits in the previous attacks. Microsoft says that it was able to determine where the attack on its Web site came from, however. The company alerted authorities and shut off their access to the company's Web site.

Naturally, Microsoft credited Windows 2000 with saving the day.

"The guys running the network swear to me that a year ago we would have been in big trouble, but with Windows 2000, nobody could knock our servers over," Sohn said. "Between the robustness of the OS and the security features built in, it really helped withstand the attack."

Now doesn't that sound like a challenge