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'Microsoft Assport'

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Note: the 'Magic Link' to the 'MSN Assport' referenced below has been updated to one which now works. The original had apparently been disabled shortly after we posted this story.

An apparent bug in Microsoft's MSN Communities site that exposes members' personal, and often smutty, image files at random is becoming an underground hit with voyeurs and Web porn fans, many of whom are sharing the link that triggers the bug like a dirty magazine in a boys' locker room.

Dubbed "The Magic Link" by its fans, the bug is exploited simply by browsing the Web page
http://communities.msn.com/_secure.msnw?ticket=lol

The link serves up an image from a MSN Community member's online photo collection, apparently at random -- though sometimes only after several refreshes.

MSN Communities is a service that lets Web users start their own virtual neighborhoods of like-minded Netizens, and to upload image files for sharing with other members of the same community, or the Web in general.

The bug reveals that MSN Communities has become something of a hotspot for swapping web porn. The link serves up a treasure trove of adult imagery -- occasionally, and disturbingly, juxtaposed with the family portraits, vacation photos and class pictures of less libidinous MSN homesteaders.

The "Magic Link" began developing a cult following over the weekend, after a Web page sprouted up to spotlight it. The page simultaneously loads two images at once, and refreshes every few seconds, creating a surreal slide show of smut interspersed with the random images and frequent '404 Not Found' messages which may require several refreshes in a row to get past.

Rob Koliha, the page's creator, said in an e-mail that a co-worker discovered the "Magic Link" two weeks ago. "Everyone had it memorized within a short amount of time so I decided to do a website for it."

On Monday, Koliha's page won cruel.com's "Cruel Site of the Day Award," with the clever tag, "Microsoft Assport".

Microsoft security response center manager Steven Lipner referred inquiries to the company's PR firm, which could not explain the link.

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