Microsoft is censoring MSN Messenger conversations
I was chatting with my friend David on MSN yesterday, and I was walking him through installing some free software. I sent him the link in MSN, but he kept on complaining that he never received it. I sent him a screenshot of my conversation window to prove that I really did send the message, and he sent me a screenshot back to prove that he never received it. All of our other messages were sent fine, except for messages that contained that one link.
It turns out that Microsoft has been censoring certain phrases, specifically “download.php”, “gallery.php”, and “profile.php”. The URL that I sent to David contained “download.php”. If you do a quick search on Google for this string in the URL, you will quickly see that the grand majority of these URLs are completely harmless and are usually for free software. The reason that Microsoft is censoring these phrases, is:
According to communications director of MSN Sweden, Jessica Börjel, this is being done to protect users against exploits and worms spreading through the MSN Messenger service.
This censor is easily worked around with redirection services, though, and it often causes more problems than it solves since neither user in the conversation is notified that this phrase is blocked. Also, it’s interesting to note that Microsoft isn’t blocking download.asp and gallery.asp phrases, even though they have the potential to do the same amount of damage as malicious download.php and gallery.php scripts. (The programming language, ASP, used in .asp files is Microsoft’s technology, for those who don’t know.)
Oh, what headaches Microsoft causes, especially when I’ve lived in the Mac world for so long.