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COMPUTING

From...
Industry Standard

Microsoft says "crack this!"

August 6, 1999
Web posted at: 12:27 p.m. EDT (1627 GMT)

by Douglas F. Gray

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(IDG) -- Microsoft is begging crackers to give it their best shot.

Microsoft connected a computer running the beta version of its Windows 2000 operating system to the Internet, and Microsoft is actually asking people to breach security on the site.

Microsoft has set some rules for the site, particularly noting that the site is not behind a firewall, so certain attacks, such as sending millions of requests using high-bandwidth lines, undoubtedly will succeed in slowing the system. Attacks of this nature are banned. Instead, Microsoft wants users to "find the 'magic bullet' that will bring the system down," according to the site.

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The site at www.windows2000test.com, according to Joel Davis, a spokesman for a Microsoft public-relations firm in London, has set goals for the aspiring cracker. Code- breakers are invited to make their attacks interesting, to compromise an account, change something they shouldn't be able to access or get something they shouldn't have.

Whether or not the crackers will follow rules such as "no foul or rude statements, please" after gaining access to the server remains to be seen, but the attitudes on the "guest book" section of the site don't seem promising. So far, visitors are mainly testing the obscenity filter and insulting Microsoft.

Executives from Microsoft declined to comment on the site, but Davis confirmed that the site was an "experiment" by the company.



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