It was simply rumour yesterday, but today Microsoft have confirmed that portions of the source for Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4 have been leaked onto the Internet.
This is serious. Not only for Microsoft but for the millions of consumers of their products, including us .NET coders. Depending on where your priorities lie on the Microsoft divide, a possible benefit to this is that 3rd parties could now potentially view the inner workings of the operating system and therefore hopefully produce applications that can rival Microsoft’s own for integration (this is good for us, bad for Microsoft). But for most of us, this means bad news. The hackers job is made easy for finding new holes and releasing new viruses because now some of the source that underpins Windows 2000, NT 4, portions of XP and Server 2003 is available. This is serious for everyone, especially those running Windows 2000 servers. As one person said on Slashdot “anything after Windows ME is in for a world of hurt”.
But lets not go overboard, the full source hasn’t been leaked (the full source is supposedly around 40Gb in size…this leak is around 600Mb in size) but key source code being in the hands of virus creators can never be good. But they have to be incredibly skilled to make sense of the code, the average coder isn’t going to be able to do much.
Expect to hear a lot more about this through general media over the next few days, and expect MSFT stock to fall.
Here are some links to news sites reporting this: