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Symantec releases online cyber-security quiz

It's an odd bid to get some attention by one of the leaders in computer security since it poses interesting questions, but doesn't vary at all if you play multiple times.

In the realm of companies I wouldn't expect to release an online game, Symantec is right up at the top of the list.

But that's just what the security software firm has done with its Cyber Smackdown online quiz, a Web-based game that tasks players with answering questions related to cyber security.

Symantec's new 'Cyber Smackdown' online game tasks players with answering questions about cyber-security. Unfortunately, the list of questions is very short and the answers are too easy. Symantec

It's a good idea, and if Symantec had bothered to come up with some difficult questions or even a few dozen different questions, it would have also been a nice manifestation.

Unfortunately, it seems--from my multiple tests of the game on both Safari and Firefox, at least--that the game's creators only bothered to write 12 questions, and so if you take the quiz multiple times, you just get the same questions in a different order. How challenging!

I scoff because, let's be honest, how hard would it have been to write, say, 24 questions? Or 36? Or 48? So that if someone felt like taking the quiz again, they might find new questions.

As it is, the list of questions runs along the lines of "What percentage of those surveyed said they have received a fraudulent email from someone pretending to be a real institution asking for personal information?"

There's also questions that ask for a definition (from a multiple choice list) for malware or typo-squatting.

The questions themselves weren't all that bad, though for the most part the answers were rather obvious. I just wish there had been way more of them.

I suppose, in the end, this exercise wasn't really about presenting players with any kind of real challenge, but more just to get Symantec's Norton brand name in front of people who like to play games. Symantec released the game at CES this week, so it was obviously counting on passers-by getting excited by the game.

But sitting here at my desk at CNET, I have to say I'm not so impressed.

Update at 2:49 PM: I just heard from Symantec, and the deal is that the company plans to release a full version of the game on Jan. 10 which will have 120 questions. The version with 12 questions is a CES-only version.