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MSN flaw put Hotmail accounts at risk
Contributed by: G3nu1n3, at 6/07/2005 07:57:00 PM.

Microsoft took part of its MSN Web site offline over the weekend, after it learned of a flaw that could let an attacker gain access to Hotmail accounts.

The MSN Web site, http://ilovemessenger.msn.com/, contained a so-called cross-site scripting flaw, a Microsoft representative said on Monday.

In its initial review of the issue, the company found that an attacker could use the vulnerability to obtain "cookies" from Hotmail users by getting them to click on a malicious URL. That could then grant access to those e-mail accounts, the representative said.

Cookies are small files stored on a computer that contain user data. Hotmail is one of the world's most popular Web-based e-mail services, with more than 200 million active accounts, according to Microsoft. Microsoft's acknowledgement of the Hotmail issue comes after the security hole was disclosed on Saturday by Alex de Vries, a Dutch programmer, on the Net-Force Web site for security enthusiasts.

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