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eBay pulls vulnerability auction

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Online auction giant eBay shut down the bidding for a vulnerability in Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program on Thursday, saying that the sale of flaw research violates the site's policy against encouraging illegal activity.

The vulnerability, which could allow a malicious programmer to create an Excel file that could take control of a Windows computer when opened, appears to be real. Members of the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) are investigating the vulnerability report, a spokesperson for the software giant said Thursday night. eBay pulled the auction after Microsoft complained to the company's Trust and Safety Team, said Catherine England, spokeswoman for the online auctioneer.

"The listing was immediately reviewed and pulled from the site for violating our policy against promoting illegal activity--hacking," England said in an e-mail to SecurityFocus.

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