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MS hacked by Dimitri again. Perhaps

Corporate sloppiness or hacker self-aggrandisement?

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The hacker that gained access to several Microsoft servers through a known security hole on Friday claims he did it again yesterday (Tuesday). Dimitri says he uploaded a file called oopsididitagain which mocked MS' security policy.

The file title refers to the hit single by Britney Spears, and Dimitri also gave an indication of his nationality by saying he enjoyed the pop star's concert in the Netherlands on Saturday, held at a football stadium in Arnhem. According to Dimitri, Microsoft found the file the same day, removed it and then finally patched the hole - something it should have done with ease back on Friday.

The implication is that Microsoft either lied about applying patches to the servers or was unable to do it within three days. If this is the case then it raises serious questions about a centralised control system for computer networks - something that Microsoft mocks others for not being able to do but it would appear can't do itself.

We had a chat with Microsoft Europe, which said it was unable to confirm or deny the hack and we'd have to wait for the States to wake up to get a final confirmation. However, it did reiterate the line about the relevant server(s) being in "semi-retirement". This explanation, incidentally, has become far more solid since it was first mooted on Friday. Originally the server was of little importance, now it is virtually dustbin material.

Anyway, we remain very skeptical of Dimitri's claims. It all sounds a little too perfect for us. It is just as likely that Dimitri got a taste for publicity and wanted more than it is he hacked Microsoft again. Think about it - how else to make the media interested than pull in a favourite publicity figure - Britney Spears? She plays a concert the weekend after his first hack, so he gives details - oh, he lives in Holland - and then the piece de resistance, an uploaded file called Oops I did It Again. It reeks of fish.

Fortunately, Microsoft has patched it up now so there's no way it can ever be proved. Put on the spot, we say: publicity hungry, never happened. But then we await Microsoft's comment. ®

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