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Home » Hacking News » Hackers target MSN again

Hackers target MSN again

by Nikola Strahija on June 26th, 2005 Microsoft Corp. says hackers attacked its popular MSN Web site in South Korea and tried to steal passwords from visitors. The company said it was unclear how many Internet users might have been victimized.

Microsoft said was cleaned and that it removed the dangerous software code that hackers have added this week. Adam Sohn, a spokesperson, said Microsoft was confident its English-language Web sites were not vulnerable to the same type of attack.

The affected Microsoft site in South Korea offers news and other information plus links to the company's free e-mail and search services. Another company Microsoft did not identify operated the Korean site, unlike U.S. versions. 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 the spokesperson.

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

The program planted by hackers was an adware program called 'Malware' that causes pop-up advertisements to appear on the user's desktop, said MSN Korea employee Kim Ye-na. The hacker program scanned visitors' computers and tried to activate password-stealing software.
MSN Korea said the partner company that runs the server for the news site is Etimes.

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.

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.

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