November 12, 2006

Microsoft search suffers serious flaws

Link: Microsoft search suffers serious flaws

Microsoft Windows

Serious flaws in the new MSN search engine have been revealed, which could adversely affect websites.

The first is that MSN search is reportedly unable to handle 301 redirects, a common internet protocol used online to indicate that a webpage - or even a website - has moved to another domain.

This means that is likely to provide only information on older locations, including webpages and sites that no longer exist.

Perhaps most seriously, though, is the report that entire websites can be maliciously removed from the search index.

This involves Microsoft’s “anti-spam” filters, which are primed to remove websites where a large number of pages are copies of one another.

Rival businesses can reportedly have their competitors completely removed from, simply by creating a string of URLs for non-existent pages, and then forward the list to Microsoft.

The anti-spam filters will reportedly then simply perceive the website as spam, and automatically remove it.

While it remains clear that Microsoft’s presence in the search market is still relatively young, it can only be disappointing that their search engine currently suffers such basic technical issues.

The fact that it cannot apparently process basic internet protocols would be concern enough, but the fact that webmasters can reportedly remove other websites though malicious actions can only be especially serious.

In the meantime, online users have posted code online which should help protect websites from falling foul of the reported malicious practice until Microsoft fixes the issue:


if($_GET) {
header (”Pragma: no-cache”);
header(”Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate”);
header(”HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”);
header(”Location: “);
header(”Connection: close”);


if request.QueryString <> “” then
response.status=”301 Moved Permanently”
response.addHeader “Location”, “”
end if

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