Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

M$ Says MSN Site Hacked in S. Korea

Filed under
Microsoft

Microsoft acknowledged Thursday that hackers booby-trapped its popular MSN Web site in South Korea to try to steal passwords from visitors. The company said it was unclear how many Internet users might have been victimized.

Microsoft said it cleaned the Web site, www.msn.co.kr, and removed the dangerous software code that unknown hackers had added earlier this week. A spokesman, Adam Sohn, said Microsoft was confident its English-language Web sites were not vulnerable to the same type of attack.

South Korea is a leader in high-speed Internet users worldwide. Microsoft’s MSN Web properties — which offer news, financial advice, car- and home-buying information and more — are among the most popular across the Web.

The affected Microsoft site in South Korea offers news and other information plus links to the company’s free e-mail and search services. Its English-language equivalent is the default home Internet page for the newest versions of its flagship Windows software sold in the United States.

The Korean site, unlike U.S. versions, was operated by another company Microsoft did not identify. Microsoft’s own experts and Korean police authorities were investigating, but Microsoft believes the computers were vulnerable because operators failed to apply necessary software patches, said Sohn, an MSN director.

“Our preliminary opinion here was, this was the result of an unpatched operating system,” Sohn said. “When stuff is in our data center, it’s easier to control. We’re pretty maniacal about getting servers patched and keeping our customers safe and protected.”

Microsoft’s acknowledgment of the hacking incident was the latest embarrassment for the world’s largest software company, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to improve security and promote consumer confidence in its products.

Security researchers noticed the suspicious programming added to the Korean site and contacted the company Tuesday. Microsoft traced the problem and removed the hacked computers within hours, Sohn said, but it doesn’t yet know how long the dangerous programming was present.

In recent days no customers have reported problems stemming from visits to the Web site, Sohn said.

The hacker program scanned visitors’ computers and tried to activate password-stealing software that was found separately to exist on some hacked Chinese Web sites.

Microsoft said it was trying to decide whether to issue a broad public warning to recent visitors of the Korean site as it examines its own records to attempt to trace anyone who might have been victimized.

© 2005 The Associated Press.

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Software

  • Git 2.3.4 Is Now Available for Download, Fixes Multiple Issues
    A new maintenance release of the Git 2.3 software, the world’s most popular distributed revision control system, was pushed today on mirrors worldwide. Git 2.3.4 is a small bugfix release that patches no more than 7 issues discovered in the previous release of the software, Git 2.3.3, which was announced last week.
  • Sound Juicer 3.16.0 Officially Released, GNOME’s Default Audio-CD Ripper
    The release of the GNOME 3.16 desktop environment is imminent, so application developers still publish their packages on the GNOME’s FTP website in preparation for tomorrow’s big announcement.
  • MuseScore 2.0 Milestone Release – Free Music Scoring App [Install in Ubuntu]
    MuseScore is a free, open-source music notation and composition application built using Qt 5, with access to thousands of music sheets, an integrated sequencer to allow for immediate playback and many more features. Version 2.0 was released today, March 25, and it represents a milestone release in the development of MuseScore, shipping with an impressive number of new features, varying from major UI changes to musical notation features like tablature support, or improved playback support.
  • Edit UEFI varstores
    UEFI firmware has a concept of persistent variables. They are used to control the boot order amongst other things. They are stored in non-volatile RAM on the system board, or for virtual machines in a host file.
  • Python for remote reconfiguration of server firmware
    There's documentation in the README, and I'm sorry for the API being kind of awful (it suffers rather heavily from me writing Python while knowing basically no Python). Still, it ought to work. I'm interested in hearing from anybody with problems, anybody who's interested in getting it on Pypi and anybody who's willing to add support for new HP systems.

today's howtos

Leftovers: Gaming

Leftovers: Screenshots