What's the most annoying question you can ask an antivirus company?

Infosec 2014

Infosecurity Europe (better known as Infosec), one of the biggest security events around, is over for another year.

The show features everything a security fan could desire, from live demos to testing out security products - but one of the most satisfying aspects is being able to put your questions to hundreds of security professionals stationed on every stand and corner.

We're used to bringing you deep insights on TechRadar Pro, but we're also interested in what's ticking off the industry from time to time, so continue reading to find out which questions have been grinding security vendors' gears at Infosec 2014.

1. "How do I remove the Heartbleed virus from my computer?"

Listen up, now: Coca-Cola didn't invent Santa Claus, Lemmings aren't suicidal and the Heartbleed Bug definitely isn't the reason your PC is running slow.

The OpenSSL flaw that means cyber thieves can nab your valuable information from infected servers has caused a lot of panic in recent weeks. It's also generated a lot of misinformation that's resulting in some baffling questions currently being put to security vendors, as Jack Daniel, Technical Product Manager at Tenable Network Security, explains.

"If you Google 'Heartbleed virus' or enter it into Twitter, you'll find thousands of hits, but a lot of it is misinformation," he says. "People are still going around saying misinformed stuff like 'my computer's acting funny - I think it's the Heartbleed virus'. I have friends who are struggling with understanding it - that sort of confusion doesn't help people the problem."

Daniel reckons that cable news channels are particularly to blame for spreading nutty untruths.

He continues: "When the first Snowden story broke I was at a trade show and somebody had printed out a picture of Edward Snowden at the hotel's business centre with a sign saying they could've protected the NSA from Snowden.

"No. No you could not."

2. "All of this cyber warfare stuff is just like the Bond movies! Right?"

Despite what the movies tell you, hackers aren't middle aged, scar-faced megalomaniacs from Russia hell-bent on world domination (you'll get the odd one or two, granted). Cyber crime is serious business that costs millions to counter and shouldn't be glorified, ok?

Paul Dwyer, Director at Mandiant, gets kind of annoyed at the number of people who fail to see the real-world dangers of cyber espionage and instead treat it like it's been lifted from the pages of an Ian Flemming-penned Hollywood blockbuster.

"People think that it's almost entertaining as opposed to asking, 'does this happen in the real world'?" he says. "People see it as a Bond Movie - it's almost think they can't connect with cyber espionage stories as they don't live in China or Russia - but it doesn't matter where you are. I actually have to tell them that this stuff is real.

"In particular, people think malware is overhyped, that it's just the industry trying to impress people with even more vast numbers and different variants of malware. The point people miss is that it only takes one piece of malware to destroy a business."

3. "Why are you all the same?"

A question that cuts deep, the question of why security vendors are all the same as each other can ruin even the most hard-faced researcher's day.

How would you feel if your business made billions in profit every year, hired 20 PhD holders per month and was still seen as a faceless, generic entity in the eyes of the clueless masses? Annoyed: that's what you'd be, and the only thing that security vendors can do to change things is to get out there and talk to customers, partners and end users, says Alex Raistrick, Regional VP, Western Europe at Palo Alto Networks.

"Sometimes we're told 'you don't seem to be any different from your competitors'. That's quite irritating," he says.

"We're very different from good old statement inspection technology from 20, 25 or 30 years ago - we're much more effective. It's not a question of whether we get tired of answering it, but we wish the market would understand more about how the world has changed. Everybody has a next-generation firewall marketing message but nobody has a next-genereation firewall product, which is the big difference."

OK, Alex. We were only asking.