Messenger will be shut down

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Microsoft plans to disable the Windows Messenger Service and activate the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) by default on Windows XP machines in an effort to protect computers from malicious attacks, a company executive has stated, according to a InfoWorld article.

The changes are targeted for release in Windows XP Service Pack 2.

The announcement follows weeks of statements from Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer and other company executives that the company was looking at ways to increase the ability of Windows to "shield" itself against threats from computer viruses, worms and hackers, rather than relying on other companies' products to do so.

Microsoft cannot comment on specific plans, but disabling the service in XP Service Pack 2 is not the final word. Other changes to address the issue in Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 are still in the works, and Microsoft is not ruling out disabling the service before releasing XP Service Pack 2, Amy Carroll, director of product management in Microsoft’s Security Business Unit, said.

In recent weeks security experts have warned against flaws in the Windows Messenger Service. They have been concerned of the possibility that a new major hacker-attack, like the MSBlast worm in August, could be on its way.
 
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