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Sun trophy site ManUtd.com uses MS technology

Posh Spice takes it up the IIS

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Application security programs and practises

The firm handling the web site for Manchester United has insisted on using Microsoft technology to run the web servers for ManUtd.com - despite Sun's high-profile technology partnership of the club.

A number of readers have drawn our attention to the fact that Manutd.com, which is hosted by TWI, uses Microsoft's IIS 4 on NT4 - a favourite of web site defacers, who have mounted large numbers of successful attacks on the platform in recent weeks.

Sun is an official technology partner and platinum sponsor of Manchester United. However its claim on the ManUtd.com site that Sun computers "are used to power the Internet (including ManUtd.com)", is somewhat misleading.

Christopher Saul, a systems engineer at Sun and technical account manager for ManUtd.com, admitted that Wintel boxes were acting as Web servers for the site, with Solaris servers only used to run back-end database and ecommerce applications.

"The hosting firm, TWI, had designed the front pages using Microsoft's ASP [Active Server Page] technology and it wouldn't change that - despite our attempts to persuade it. The back end systems are on Sun," said Saul.

Saul said the use of Wintel web servers and three Sun E420R servers for the "serious stuff" was "a reasonable compromise" and one that Sun was able to live with even in one of its reference sites.

As a Manchester United fan, I have to say that I'm far less sanguine about the matter and only hope that the administrators have patched the Web servers for the Unicode bug, and other favourite s'kiddie IIS exploits.

The consequences of a defacement don't bear thinking about. I don't want to see "ManUtd.com is owned by Manchester City" when I browse one of my favourite sites on the Internet. The possibility of Posh Spice jokes or video clips from the recent FA Cup loss with West Ham appearing on the site fill me with personal dread. ®

Related stories:
New York Times Web site sm0ked
Hacker defaces Intel's Web site
Microsoft hacked again
Microsoft hacker fired
Gateway web server flaws exposed
Mass hack takes out govt sites
Intel hacker talks to The Reg

External links:
Manutd.com
Red Issue: alternative fans' site for MUFC supporters

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