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<p>COLUMBIA, S.C. – In the weeks since Microsoft launched its newest operating system with assertions that it’s the most secure thing yet, serious breaches have been discovered, including the latest, which was severe enough that the federal government is recommending a key XP feature be disabled. That would be the Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP) feature, an innovation intended to allow easy integration of new functions into networks and individual computers. The breach this time again involves a buffer overflow, which means too much data pours into a predefined area of computer memory to be adequately monitored. That can allow intruders to take over a host computer and do such nefarious deeds as steal information, alter files and even run their own programs. The FBI takes the problem seriously enough that its National Infrastructure Protection Center (www.nipc.org) is recommending UPnP be disabled. And for some, the latest incident is further evidence that the time for XP itself has not come. Microsoft disagrees. So does Hugh Butler. “My main point is that Microsoft swiftly addressed this latest problem before a single incident of an actual attack was reported,” says the founder and CEO of credit union data processor Computer Consultants Corp. in Salt Lake City, Utah. “Windows XP includes a tremendously user-friendly critical update process for users connected to the Internet, and (to) conclude that XP is some sort of risky proposition and that people should prefer to retain their Windows 95 instead of upgrading, that would be a mistake, in my opinion,” Butler says. Butler says of CCC’s 638 credit union clients, at least 200 use Windows in some fashion and that perhaps 5% have made the upgrade to XP.</p>

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