Microsoft confirms security bug in IIS for Win2000

A Microsoft spokeswoman acknowledged that engineers had written the phrase "Netscape engineers are weenies!" into a .dll file, maligning the employees of its arch rival, Netscape Communications.

Pages built with IIS version 4.0, with extensions from the FrontPage 98 Web page-building software are affected. The flaw does affect IIS versions running on Windows 2000 or the latest version of Microsoft's server extensions, included in FrontPage 2000.

"This type of action is totally wrong and against Microsoft's policy of keeping its customers' information secure," the spokeswoman said. "Microsoft just learned of this yesterday and immediately launched an investigation. It is not Microsoft's policy to add any additional information to its products."

She said Microsoft was planning to post a bulletin about the problem on its Web site.

According to Russ Cooper, editor of the respected security mailing list NTBugtraq, the text string in question, does not represent a backdoor password as some reports have suggested.

The text string, "!seineew era sreenigne epacsteN" (Ed. note: Read it backward.) is embedded in the dvwssr.dll file which itself may contain a vulnerability. Dvwssr.dll is a directory file that apparently permits anyone with permission to modify one site containing the .dll to also modify other sites on the same server.

The flaw probably has nothing with the errant string, however. "Anyone with permission to execute the .dll in the first place would have the ability to simply open the other sites and manipulate them directly (i.e. no need to use this junk with the dvwssr.dll)," Cooper reported to the Bugtraq list.

While some have claimed that they could get into a site built with FrontPage 98 using "netscapeengineersareweenies" as a user ID and no password, making them think it was a backdoor, Cooper said they would probably be able get into the same sties using "tomdickandharry" as user IDs, if the permissions were not set correctly.

Microsoft has urged users to delete the dvwssr.dll file from the company's Internet server software with FrontPage 98 extensions.

The string is also located in the .ddl file \Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSDesigners98\mtd2lv.dll which is the client-side component of the Visual Interdev Web development tool.

Cooper adds that this string was put into the program when it was first released in 1995 and not at the height of the browser wars between Netscape and Microsoft.

"Let's not make another 'NSA backdoor' out of this unless/until someone can actually prove a claim about it," wrote Cooper to the list.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?