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CNET News.com: Microsoft plugs security hole in WebTV

Sep 16, 1999, 16:44 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Stephanie Miles)

"Microsoft was forced to plug a security hole found in its WebTV email server, the latest in a series of email bugs and other software glitches.

Yesterday, an error in a setting for WebTV email servers resulted in some subscriber email revealing normally hidden user information--including an identification number that WebTV assigns to each subscriber. Critics said the flaw could potentially be exploited to terminate a customer's WebTV service, for instance--but Microsoft downplayed such concerns because of the limited scope of the problem.

The company said the only emails to reveal subscriber information were those returned back to the original sender, as the general WebTV mailbox was too full to accept more messages..."

"...the WebTV glitch comes at an inopportune time for the software giant. Microsoft has been scrambling to reassure its Hotmail email users of its commitment to security in the face of a recent string of bugs and snafus. The most notable glitch, which brought the Hotmail system down on August 30, allowed even the most inexperienced of malicious Web hackers to easily access password-protected email accounts."

"Although MSN's Hotmail service and WebTV are two separate Microsoft properties, the two groups are expected to become more tightly integrated in the future. Plus, as e-commerce becomes more popular in general, many potential online customers are watching carefully to see how major companies treat user privacy, analysts warn. Snafus now may result in stunted online sales over the next few years..."

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