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Washington Post: Microsoft Coding Tweaks Netscape

Apr 17, 2000, 00:06 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Schwartz)

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"Microsoft Corp. found itself deluged yesterday with calls from around the world after a newspaper reported that the software giant's engineers had tucked a secret password into its software - the sentence "Netscape engineers are weenies!" typed backward. The password could be used "to gain illicit access to hundreds of thousands of Internet sites world-wide," the article said, allowing evildoers to alter pages or get access to information stored in Web sites, such as credit-card numbers."

"Worse, the beleaguered software company acknowledged that the report - in the Wall Street Journal - was true."

"Trouble is, it wasn't true. But even Microsoft didn't know that at first...."

"As Microsoft learned when it finally got a chance to examine the surprising wrinkle in its software, however, the supposed back door had security measures built in. It works only if the system administrator has given the user explicit permission. A back door, perhaps, but one that still requires a key."

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