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Microsoft secrets 'safe' after hack attack

Oct 27, 2000, 11:21 (23 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ian Lynch)

By Ian Lynch, VNU Net

Microsoft's corporate network has been broken into by hackers, but the Redmond giant said source code for its most popular software was not compromised.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said of the hackers, who could have had undetected access since July: "This has been a deplorable act of industrial espionage and we are working with law enforcement agencies to protect our intellectual properties."

She added: "We are confident that the integrity of our source code remains intact."

According to the Wall Street Journal, access to the network was gained by emailing a back door into Microsoft's network, known as the QAZ Trojan.

Microsoft said: "We are implementing an aggressive plan to protect our corporate network from unauthorised attempts to gain access, and are working on both immediate and long-term solutions."

Paul Rogers, network security analyst at MIS Corporate Defence Solutions, said the QAZ Trojan theory is "certainly one of the three most likely scenarios in this case and seems perfectly plausible". Another involves scanning the network for weaknesses, while a third cause could be a disgruntled employee.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at antivirus software vendor Sophos, said: "The QAZ surfaced in July but we didn't start receiving reports of it in the wild in the West until early September.

"But really, a decent firewall or antivirus software should have stopped this happening."

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