nettime's roving reporter on Fri, 14 Apr 2000 17:06:18 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Secret Code in Microsoft Software

April 14, 2000
Secret Code in Microsoft Software

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. engineers included a secret password in
Internet software that could be used to gain illegal access to hundreds of
thousands of Web sites, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

The rogue computer code was discovered in a three-year-old piece of
software by two security experts, the newspaper said. Contained within the
code is a derisive comment aimed at a Microsoft rival: ``Netscape engineers
are weenies!''

Steve Lipner, who manages the company's security-response center, described
such a backdoor password as ``absolutely against our policy'' and a firing
offense for the as-yet unidentified employees.

There have been no reports of site access through the code, but the
affected software is believed to be used by many Web sites.

The file, called ``dvwssr.dll'' is installed on Microsoft's Internet-server
software with Frontpage 98 extensions. 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, The Journal reported.

Microsoft urged customers to delete the file and planned to warn customers
with an e-mail bulletin and an advisory published on its corporate Web

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