The May 22 issue of Brian’s Buzz reported that Microsoft had to shut down for a few days the ability of its Passport users to change their passwords (see “Passport flaws let anyone control passwords“). The hiatus was necessary because anyone could change any Passport user’s password and take over the victim’s account after a Microsoft code change that took place in September 2002.
Several readers reported that they try not to use Passport, even though it’s difficult to avoid since Microsoft is requiring it for more and more unrelated services. One tipster, however, reveals a way you can get critical Microsoft security bulletins without a Passport registration:
- “Personally, I refuse to use any Microsoft service that requires a Passport account and have for several years now. (Once upon a lonely time I had a Hotmail account, but I haven’t accessed it since Passport was introduced and was required to change user preferences.)
“Having said that, there are some Microsoft services that can be quite useful, among which is the Microsoft Notification Service. I’ve found a URL where you can sign up for this service without obtaining a Passport account [click here]. All that’s required, naturally, is a valid e-mail address!” –Joseph Fee
My April 24 issue reported that installing SP1 for Windows XP can make it impossible for users to read removable media (“XP Service Pack 1 hoses CD-ROM and floppy-disk access“). Now we learn that the fix I described also helps recordable CDs that were burned on one machine suddenly become readable on other machines:
- “After reading your article on April 24 about Windows XP SP1 and problems reading CD-ROMs, I wondered if KB 811840 might be the solution to a problem I was encountering as well. Sure enough, it was.