“Microsoft Corp. says incomplete portions of the source code for some versions of its Windows computer operating system were leaked over the Internet, but analysts caution it’s too early to say how much damage the leak may cause,” Allison Linn reports for The Associated Press. “Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla said Thursday that some pieces of source code – the tightly guarded blueprint of its dominant computer operating system – for its Windows 2000 and Windows NT4.0 operating systems had been ‘illegally made available on the Internet.”’
“Access to the source code could allow hackers to exploit the operating system and attack machines running some versions of Windows. Several versions of the operating system, including the ones containing leaked code, are used on hundreds of millions of computers worldwide. Such access could also provide a competitive edge to Microsoft rivals, who would gain a much better understanding of the inner workings of Microsoft’s technology,” Linn reports.
“But analysts and security experts cautioned that it was hard to assess any potential damage the leak could cause, since so few details were available. ‘Frankly, I’m not sure anybody can fully assess that, other than Microsoft,’ said Al Gillen, research director for systems software at research group IDC. The leak could potentially put more Windows users at risk because it opens the door to more people finding vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s code – and using them in malicious ways, Maiffret said. That could, in turn, wreak havoc on Microsoft’s ability to respond with fixes in a controlled manner,” Linn reports.
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