Tester ID leak leaves WinXP beta site wide open
Latest build victim of The Great Escape
Windows XP beta code has been leaking gently for practically the whole process, but on Friday Microsoft fell victim to the Big One. A beta tester's login leaked, was broadcast across IRC and via instant message, and the Great Escape ensued.
Interim build 2469, which itself showed up on Friday, escaped in volume, but as a beta tester login gives you access to a whole range of stuff, the unauthorised visitors will likely have been able to get hold of whatever different builds were up there (BetaNews reckons 2462 and 2465 were available), and should also have been able to grab server, Professional, Home builds and sundry utilities.
Paranoid rumours that Microsoft spies lurk in the relevant IRC channels seem to have been wide of the mark, or if they do lurk there, they must nap a lot. The account may have acted as an open channel to the XP beta site for up to seven hours before it was disabled, and then the site itself was shut down. It's back up now, and presumably Microsoft only closed it in the first place because of concerns that the security breach may have been more widespread than just a single account leaking out.
Nate Mook of BetaNews says there could have been "tens of thousands" of downloads of the code. This means that 2469 is set to be the fastest-leaking build yet, as practically all of the usual suspects will have early access to ISO images.
Early reports of 2469 however suggest that Microsoft is starting to tighten up on warez. Security seems to have moved on a bit, and previous cracks are reported not to work. Joolz at mswinxp.net meanwhile has decided to pull "All downloads which modify the Windows XP beta in any way, shape or form." The move seems to be a preemptive reaction to a general crack-crackdown by Microsoft:
"I have not been contacted by Microsoft. However, many sites have. Mainly over the crack for Beta 2 (2462) and 2465 that removes the Windows Product Activation and the 180 day limit. This site is for news and information only. Please do NOT contact me regarding cracks or downloads of the beta. I do not have any cracks."
Well it was fun while it lasted, but now it looks like it's no more Mr Nice Redmond... ®