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The Theft Of Windows Source Code

The Fifteen Greatest Hacking Exploits

February 12, 2004 was a beautiful day, but Microsoft was in a state of emergency. The source code for Windows 2000, which is still used by a great number of people even today, had just been stolen. Worse still, that code had been disseminated into the wild by a still unidentified hacker.

Windows Source Code in the Wild

This breach represented a heavy loss: 600 million bytes of data, 30,195 files, and 13.5 million lines of code. The leak involved both Windows 2000 and its older sibling, Windows NT4. Everybody at the software giant tried to get a grip on what had just happened, but nobody really had answers.

The data was stolen directly from Microsoft's network. The hacker in question, who has never been discovered, entered the company's internal network by breaking the password on one of the machines. The source code quickly found its way to the Internet, especially P2P networks. Fortunately, even through everyone feared the worst, the consequences of the theft were quite mild.

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