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  Major privacy hole in Windows/MSN Messenger
Time: 07:52 EST/12:52 GMT | News Source: The Register | Posted By: Byron Hinson

A nifty feature in MSN and Windows Messenger which apparently was intended to identify IE users (without their knowledge or consent) on Microsoft Web sites can easily be abused by any Webmaster with a bit of Javascript or VBscript, a clever empiricist has discovered. The feature allows anyone to obtain a surfer's Messenger username and those of his contacts, according to Richard Burton in a post Monday to the BugTraq mailing list. Worse, if a username is not available, the e-mail address of the surfer and those of his contacts are displayed instead.

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#1 By 2201 (212.117.228.131) at 2/5/2002 9:01:33 AM
#1 = garbage about another reporting service.

#2 By 135 (209.180.28.6) at 2/5/2002 11:44:24 AM
#8 - I found another major security hole in Windows Messenger!

If you send me your passport username and password I will demonstrate it for you.

#3 By 135 (209.180.28.6) at 2/5/2002 12:01:09 PM
Oh come on Mr. 63.166.207.182... don't you understand how funny this article is?

You start to lose credibility when you make ridiculous claims about security. I think it's funny that they've now stooped to claiming that reconfiguring security permissions is a security problem.

#4 By 1295 (216.84.210.100) at 2/5/2002 1:25:20 PM
This isn't a hole. its a feature... but like everything else if you are not careful and execute an untrusted or malicous file... it will cause a problem.

For those that are this worried about it they can just stay off the internet.

Oh... and as far as finding this out... this was no eureka! as they would have it be known... just read the Messenger SDK.

#5 By 2332 (129.21.145.80) at 2/5/2002 3:24:11 PM
Personally, I don't like the fact people can simply add a registry key to expose this kind of functionality.

#6 By 4209 (163.192.21.3) at 2/5/2002 3:35:39 PM
So in other words I have to edit the registry or install some program from somewhere or someone I do not know that will enable this. This is not a security flaw it is an ID10T flaw. Even if you delete the key or if it did not exist, it could always be added with a registry merge. Just like any other registry edit or hack. I think now we need to get rid of the registry, that will fix it all. That had to be the worst written article I hqave ever seen. Calling a registry hack or edit a flaw. Why don't they just tell the stupid people to stop using the internet. As I know we can never stop that.

#7 By 135 (208.50.201.48) at 2/6/2002 12:33:33 AM
I sent my new security hole to Mr. Greene... The one above "Send me your password and I'll show you."

This is the response I got:

"show it to john.leyden@theregister.co.uk. i don't use windows. no msn, no
ie, no outlook..."

Ok, it's pretty damn clear to me two things:

#1. Mr. Greene knows nothing about Windows.
#2. Mr. Greene does not understand security.

I now will forward my email on to John Leyden and see what response I receive.

hehe, this is funny.

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