Just days after a series of worms ravaged Microsoft Windows-powered networks around the world — and made high-profile splashes at media outlets including Time Warner, CNN, The Walt Disney Co., ABC News and The New York Times — several new potentially damaging weaknesses in Windows software have been exposed.
The first problem, a weakness in the company’s Internet Explorer Web-browsing software, could allow malicious hackers to crash or even take complete control of computers using the software. In order to be affected, IE users would have to visit a specially constructed Web site, but security firms say it’s still a serious threat, and that a widespread attack is likely.
Microsoft is also catching heat over a new feature that’s been included into test versions of its upcoming Windows Vista operating system. The software — currently released only to about 500,000 beta testers and software developers–apparently comes with a built-in peer-to-peer networking feature, which would allow groups of Windows computers to automatically connect without a central server. In the beta version, the software is turned on by default. That’s a violation of Microsoft’s security principles and potentially could lead to security breaches. Microsoft says the feature will be turned off in the final software release.
Nice to know that they’ve got P2P built in, though. Wonder if it’s any good?