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D'oh. Microsoft's UK website was defaced early this morning by previously unknown hackers called the OutLaw Group.

Headings on a page (www.microsoft.com/mspress/uk) plugging tech manuals were altered to "Owned by OutLaw Group" during the brief period the site was defaced. A Microsoft's spokeswoman confirmed a page dealing with technical text books was "briefly replaced by unauthorised content". Microsoft is investigating the incident. Beyond stating it's confident that no customer data was jeopardised by the hack, Microsoft is staying schtum about the embarrassing security breach.

Successful hack attacks on Microsoft webites are nothing new, but previous attacks have focused on spraying digital graffiti across the front page of sites, especially those hosted by third-party companies at the time. The latest attack is a more subtle data poisoning assault - the digital equivalent of urinating on Microsoft's back porch. It's unclear what attack mechanism was used to inject the rogue content onto the site, which runs IIS 6.0 on Windows 2003.

The timing of the attack couldn't be much worse for Microsoft. At yesterday's TechEd conference the software giant was talking up the capabilities of its Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server software in preventing security breaches. Today's attack does nothing to help MS's pitch that the latest version of ISA Server is gaining traction with server vendors and giving more traditional software firewall vendors, such as Check Point, a run for their money. ®

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