"The hackers were believed to have used hacker software to
send sensitive passwords to an email address in St. Petersburg,
Russia. The passwords were then used to transfer source code -- the
tightly-protected blueprints that reveal the inner workings of
software -- to computers outside of the Microsoft campus."
"During the three months in which the hackers had access to the
code, there is a remote chance the software could have been
altered, Microsoft told the Wall Street Journal. The company said
there is no evidence such alterations were made, however, and
experts say the risk of such alterations is small."
"Observers speculated that the hackers -- whose identities
remain unknown -- could have been intending to hold the source code
hostage, threatening to release it to the public unless a ransom
were paid. The code could also be purchased by an unscrupulous
company looking to make its applications work more smoothly with
Microsoft's dominant operating systems."
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