Microsoft says 'crack this!' for Windows 2000 beta

Microsoft has connected a computer running the beta version of its Windows 2000 operating system to the Internet; but for once, is actually asking people to breach security on the site.

Microsoft has set some rules for the site, particularly noting that the site is not behind a firewall, so certain attacks, such as sending millions of requests using high-bandwidth lines, undoubtedly will succeed in slowing the system. Attacks of this nature are banned. Instead, Microsoft wants users to "find the 'magic bullet' that will bring the system down," according to the site.

The site, according to Joel Davis, a spokesman for a Microsoft, has set goals for the aspiring cracker. Among the goals: make it interesting; compromise an account; change something you shouldn't have access to; get something you shouldn't have.

Whether or not the crackers will follow rules such as "no foul or rude statements, please" after gaining access to the server remains to be seen, but the attitudes on the "guest book" section of the site don't seem promising. People are mainly testing the obscenity filter and insulting Microsoft.

Executives from Microsoft declined to comment on the site, but Davis confirmed that the site was an "experiment" by the company.

The Microsoft Windows 2000 Internet Test Site can be found at http://www.windows2000test.com

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Douglas Gray

PC World

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