Microsoft admits failing to patch own software against the SQL worm

Tuesday, 28 January 2003, 11:54 AM EST

Microsoft Corp. itself was exposed to the virus-like attack that crippled global Internet activity last weekend because it failed to install crucial fixes to its own software on many Microsoft computer servers, according to internal e-mails obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

Although Microsoft contends its failure to keep up with its own updates did not cause major problems, security experts said it points to a larger issue: Microsoft's process for keeping customers' software secure is hugely flawed.

The virus-like attack, called Slammer or Sapphire, exploited a known flaw in Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 database software, used by businesses, government agencies, universities and others around the world. Microsoft had issued a patch for the flaw in July, but many - including some units within Microsoft - had failed to install it.

The result was that the attacking software scanned for victim computers so randomly and so aggressively that it saturated many of the Internet's largest data pipelines, slowing e-mail and Web surfing around the world.

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