Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce!

Microsoft Corp. itself was exposed to the virus-like attack that crippled global Internet activity last weekend because it failed to install crucial fixes to its own software on many Microsoft computer servers. Although Microsoft contends its failure to keep up with its own updates did not cause major problems, security experts said it points to a larger issue: Microsoft’s process for keeping customers’ software secure is hugely flawed. The virus-like attack, called “slammer” or “sapphire,” exploited a known flaw in Microsoft’s “SQL Server 2000” database software, used by businesses, government agencies, universities and others around the world.