MSN Delays New IM Client Beta

Potential security glitches lead MSN to strike "Winks" feature from at least the first public beta of its next-gen instant-messaging product.

MSN has delayed by a week the start of its beta for its MSN Messenger 7 instant-messaging client until some time next week.

MSN officials had said the company planned to commence the MSN Messenger 7 beta this week in six test markets: the United States, U.K., France, Spain, Korea and the Netherlands. But some testers who got their hands on leaked copies of the beta discovered potential security exploits based on the "Winks" capability.

Winks are animations that help grab other IM users attention. Winks originally debuted as part of a beta of threedegrees, an IM product catering to the teen—or, as Microsoft has characterized it, the "NetGen"—market.

Posters on the NeoWin Windows enthusiast site began reporting problems with MSN Messenger 7s Winks last week.

"Currently its easy for hackers to exploit the code of winks to display any flash movies on a users computer for any amount of time," according to NeoWin.

"MSN plans to make some adjustments to the feature set of the limited beta and will no longer be testing winks as part of this initial limited beta," said an MSN spokeswoman. "People using early/unauthorized versions of the beta that include winks will be notified that they need to uninstall the beta and reinstall the latest public version of MSN Messenger 6.2 if they want to continue service.


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