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Microsoft Clarifies Problems with Test Site

If you put a public Web server running Windows 2000 beta without a firewall in front of it, they will come. They, or hackers, most certainly did. Before most had even heard that Microsoft had put a test server on the Internet to beta test the security of Windows 2000, hackers had already broken the ground rules of the test and sent millions of random packets to the server, causing major downtime.

Microsoft points out that system downtime is not synonymous with a security problem and that any firewall software would have prevented this but the Redmond giant wants to keep the beta as open as possible to put the machine through the most rigorous of uses.

Some hackers were able to cause some damage the old fashioned way, however. Microsoft reports that the site is running a guestbook application that permits users to post their comments to the site. One visitor placed a comment containing the "META Refresh HTML tag" into the text of their message. This causes Web browsers to redirect users to another Web site. Microsoft reports this was easy enough to fix, filtering out all HTML tags placed in the guestbook.

So far, the only other reasons the site's been down, according to Microsoft, have been overloads of traffic and an electrical storm that passed over the Seattle area. The site can still be accessed at www.windows2000test.com. -- Brian Ploskina

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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