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Home » Hacking News » Windows piracy checks introduced

Windows piracy checks introduced

by Nikola Strahija on July 26th, 2005 Microsoft has published its blocking technology that will require people to validate their copies of Windows before being allowed download access to updates.

Genuine Advantage 1.0 program will check that anyone accessing Windows Update, Microsoft Update for Windows or the Microsoft Download Center has a genuine Windows operating system before allowing any downloads. Security updates will remain excluded from the ban.

Microsoft has been testing the program since September and has validated more than 48 million systems so far, said David Lazar, director of Genuine Windows for Microsoft. Until now the program has been voluntary.

Customers who discover they have a counterfeit copy of Windows will either be given a free version of the operating system or can purchase it for a discounted price, he said.

To get the free version of Windows, a customer must fill out a counterfeit report identifying the source of the software, provide a proof of purchase and send in a counterfeit CD of the software. If customers don't have all of that information, they can still fill out a counterfeit report and receive a copy of Windows XP Home Edition for $99 or a copy of Windows XP Professional Edition for $149, Lazar said.

Bonnie MacNaughton, senior attorney for Microsoft, said the company estimates that more than one-third of all copies of its software are counterfeit, based on a recent joint report released by the Business Software Alliance and research firm IDC. The study found that 35 percent of software worldwide is pirated. In North America alone, the piracy rate for software is 22 percent. -We consider that to be a staggering number, said MacNaughton.

Many users even don't know that their copy of Windows is illegal. Windows Genuine Advantage allows customers to solve this problem in a few minutes through the automatic validation, Lazar said. The Windows Genuine Advantage checking mechanism is anonymous, and includes an ActiveX control on the client side and the Windows Product Activation service on the Microsoft side. During the testing process, a user had to install the ActiveX control and enter the Windows product key.

Even customers who do not check their copies of Windows for authenticity will be allowed to download security updates through Windows Update, Microsoft Update for Windows and the Download Center, he said.

-Those are available to all Windows users with or without validation, Lazar said. -We think of it like public health. We want to make sure no one gets infected by another system on the Internet because of our program.

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