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Windows Vista P2P engine causes concern

Just testing, says MS

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Windows Vista comes equipped with its own, under-the-hood P2P networking system, it has emerged.

The code's presence was detected after a number of beta testers spotted unexpected levels of network traffic coming in and out of machines loaded with the preview code Microsoft released last month, News.com

The P2P sub-system uses Microsoft's Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP) and is used to link machines in much the same way applications like Limewire, BitTorrent and the various instant messaging programs do. The software giant's goal is the ability to provision network services without the need for a server.

Ironically, PNRP has been around since Windows XP Service Pack 1 - it's part of the Advanced Networking Pack. However, while the feature is disabled by default in the production software, it's enabled by default in the Vista public beta.

When the operating system formerly known as Longhorn is booted, the system automatically signs on to the distributed P2P network.

Microsoft said the feature will be turned off when users install the finished version of Vista, due sometime next year, the report notes. It is currently monitoring the security impact of enabling PNRP, it said. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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