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CBS MarketWatch: Microsoft Admits Security Flaw

Apr 14, 2000, 09:17 (21 Talkback[s])

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" Microsoft acknowledged Thursday that its engineers included in some of its Internet software a secret password -- a phrase deriding their rivals at Netscape as "weenies" -- that could be used to gain illicit access to hundreds of thousands of Internet sites world-wide. The manager of Microsoft's security-response center, Steve Lipner, acknowledged the online-security risk in an interview Thursday and described such a backdoor password as "absolutely against our policy" and a firing offense for the as yet unidentified employees. The company planned to warn customers as soon as possible with an e-mail bulletin and an advisory published on its corporate Web site. Microsoft urged customers to delete the computer file-called "dvwssr.dll"-containing the offending code. The file is installed on the company's Internet-server software with Frontpage 98 extensions. While there are no reports that the alleged security flaw has been exploited, the affected software is believed to be used by many Web sites. By using the so-called back door, a hacker may be able to gain access to key Web-site management files, which could in turn provide a road map to such things as customer credit-card numbers, said security experts who discovered the password."

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