This week's outages follow an incident last fall in which Microsoft disclosed that its internal computer network was hacked by intruders who were able to view the source code for an unspecified future product. And two months ago, a Dutch hacker penetrated one of Microsoft's Web servers on two separate occasions after the company failed to plug a known security hole in its Web server software.
Microsoft spokesman Adam Sohn today defended the company's network and its Web security, saying that officials at the software vendor "take the security of our Web [sites] very seriously." Microsoft has "a very competent [security] team," he added. "They know what to do and they do it."
However, Sohn said Microsoft plans to carefully review the recent outages and make changes if needed in order to "insulate customers" from any similar future problems. "In general, security is a journey, not a destination, and we know that," he said. "We're always looking to make changes to raise that bar."
Pete Lindstrom, an analyst at Hurwitz Group Inc. in Framingham, Mass., said yesterday's attack shouldn't necessarily be held up as evidence of a security shortfall at Microsoft because of the difficulty of preventing denial-of-service assaults or stopping them once they've been launched.
And while some users said yesterday that this week's Web-site outages made it hard for them to get important technical support information, Lindstrom said he doubts the back-to-back problems will have much of a lasting impact on Microsoft from a customer relations standpoint.
Some users did experience "lost time and productivity," he said. "But are people going to stop buying Microsoft products? I doubt it. Are they going to stop going [to its Web sites]? Maybe."