Microsoft to shoot Messenger in next update

Wednesday, 29 October 2003, 2:15 PM EST

The Messenger service is a data exchange mechanism for networked computers that shouldn't be confused with Microsoft's instant-messaging software. Spammers have taken advantage of the service, which is typically only used to manage networks in businesses, to send advertisements that pop up in gray boxes on people's desktops. Microsoft also announced earlier in October that the technology has a flaw that could be used by attackers to bypass a computer's security.

Switching Messenger off "is the current plan of record," said Neil Charney, director of product management in Microsoft's Windows client group. The company made the announcement at its Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles. "What we are doing at this point is running through the plan with developers," Charney said.

The next update, Windows XP Service Pack 2, is due in the first half of 2004. Microsoft also plans in Service Pack 2 to turn on the Internet Connection Firewall, a basic form of protection that's built into Windows but is currently off by default.

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