XP pirate checks dropped
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  1. #1

    XP pirate checks dropped

    XP pirate checks dropped


    MICROSOFT has dropped Big Brother-style plans to track down pirated copies of Windows XP, dumping elements of its Windows Genuine Advantage Notification after they ignited a firestorm of controversy.

    The stealth application, introduced with auto updates in Australia in April as part of a pilot scheme, "phoned home" every time the computer was booted to confirm that the operating system was genuine.

    If the software was pirated it triggered a series of irritating warnings. Now Microsoft has reacted to user anger by switching off the boot-up check.

    The company has retained another tool, WGA Validation, which checks back periodically with Microsoft headquarters.

    A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to speak to The Australian about the issue.


    "No Microsoft spokespeople have spoken to the press regarding the update to the WGA Notifications program," she said.

    US users have already filed a class action against Microsoft alleging that the tool is spyware, and Australians are fuming over the covert nature of the program.

    Computer repair companies, frustrated that the changes were introduced with no advance warning, have been left to deal with angry customers who have inadvertently bought PCs with pirated operating systems.

    "Most people say the validation procedures are probably fair enough, but if your software is legitimate and they come back and check it every day, well, that's why people are a bit reactive," said Ian Smith, a user angered by the WGA Notification pilot.

    "I bought my software legitimately, I validated it, I go to Microsoft for updates, and if they want to check it then, that's okay. But coming back every day is too much."

    The secrecy of the initiative, with the tool downloaded through the Windows auto-update feature, is what has angered users most of all. Mr Smith said the anti-piracy measure was "slipped under the radar", making it difficult to avoid and leaving most users completely unaware that their system was checking up on them.

    "It ended up on my machine without me knowing about it," he said. "The fact that they didn't tell anyone was the worst part of it."

    The notification scheme has caught plenty of people unaware, with computer service companies left to deal with clients who thought they had bought their software legitimately, only to find, sometimes years down the track, that it was pirated.

    Mark Ahern, a specialist with Brisbane support firm computersbehavingbadly, said some of his clients who bought their hardware elsewhere had found they had been ripped off.

    "Not many people realise that unless there's a sticker on the box, the chances are it's dodgy," he said. "I had three clients who had their systems flagged as non-genuine, and they had paid their money to the whitebox assembler and been stung."

    Microsoft should have warned users before introducing the changes, he said. "Part of the issue has been that there was no form of warning," he said. "The end-user licence states that they can do that, but who reads it?"

    Mr Ahern said the WGA program was part of a wider attempt by Microsoft to slowly but surely crack down on pirated operating systems and other software. Ultimately, even additional hardware may be locked out if the operating system was pirated.

    "At the moment it's an annoying warning, but the machine still functions," he said. "My theory is that they'll gradually make it so you can't install software, and it will be necessary to have the genuine stuff."

    San Diego lawyer Scott Kamber has filed a class action against Microsoft on behalf of millions of computer users, alleging the tool is spyware.

    A Microsoft Australia spokeswoman refused to discuss the action. "WGA is not spyware," the company's statement says.

    "It's installed with the consent of the user and seeks only to notify the user if a proper licence is not in place".

    Source
    The Australian

  2. #2
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Well, I have always considered it to be a rather inept implementation at best.

    There really isn't any need to repetitively check the system, either the installation is valid or it is not. Also, if you load onto a new machine, or a substantially upgraded one, you are going to have to re-validate and re-activate anyway?

    This thread may be relevant, as I see that as the new DRM "initiative"

    http://www.antionline.com/showthread...hreadid=275847

  3. #3
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
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    Hmm the freeway is blocked..

    Looks like time to use the side roads..

    it hasnt stopped MS using the WGA tool.. just the Phone home component.... wow..
    Well I hope the bugs in the original have been ironed out..

    the bugs not mentioned in the artical..Like incorrectly set system clocks causeing FALSE identification of non-legit.. no ..we wont discuss that huh.. Yes customers and retailers get pretty darned pissed off for that one..

    The MS WGA tool needs to be bloody well sure BEFORE it starts accusing of Non-legit editions.. very certain.. The DOJ action will be nothing compared to a few thousand Legit - disgruntled users.. hmm and it wont be the joke of the missing bytes on my HDD suite.
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me http://www.cybercrypt.co.nr

  4. #4
    AO's Resident Redneck The Texan's Avatar
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    Maybe its just me but im pretty sure that I did download this WGA tool ( before I knew what it was all about) and to my knowledge it has never "phoned home" or done anything at all? I have noticed no difference in anything.
    Git R Dun - Ty
    A tribe is wanted

  5. #5
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
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    Maybe its just me but im pretty sure that I did download this WGA tool ( before I knew what it was all about) and to my knowledge it has never "phoned home" or done anything at all? I have noticed no difference in anything.
    It only phoned home AND displays a Popup IF it thinks you have a non-legit version... .. Yours is Legit Yes? then no problems..
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me http://www.cybercrypt.co.nr

  6. #6
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Hi Tex~

    There are two parts to it AFAIK. The WGA and the notification bit. I think that you need XP SP2 for the notification part. I have WGA on this Win 2000, and it does not seem to have the notification.

    As it appears to be "stealthed" I am not surprised that you don't see anything

  7. #7
    AO's Resident Redneck The Texan's Avatar
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    Well I do have a legal version of XP. now one thing I did notice was after my recent trouble with my nic card and all that it said it had detected "recent hardware changes" ( not true) but anyway it asked me to "re-register it" online so I did and since then AFAIK no probs or notifcations.
    Git R Dun - Ty
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  8. #8
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    As I understand it the latest version just checks every 14 days?

    I still don't understand that though, I would have thought that checking on update would be more logical?


  9. #9
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    It had to happen.

    The Cuebot-K worm spreads via AOL Instant Messenger, registering itself as a new system driver service called 'wgavn'. It carries the display name 'Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Notification', and runs automatically during system startup.

    Users who view the list of services are told that removing or stopping the service will result in 'system instability'.

    Once in place the worm disables the Windows firewall, and opens a backdoor to infected computers which allows hackers to gain remote access, spy on users, and potentially launch distributed denial-of-service attacks.
    http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/21...indows-genuine
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

  10. #10
    IT Specialist Ghost_25inf's Avatar
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    Well I guess I have mixed feelings about this new feature. I do believe it should validate you as a ligit customer. It should not take up more than a minute of your time and that is that. If this new WGA tool is buggy and it screws up my day to day opperation, then Microsoft hear me when I say lawsuit. I spent way too much of my hard erned money to have to sit threw anymore of there bull. I understand that there is a big problem with illegal copies of Windows out there (god knows bill gates doesnt have enough money as it is) But you need to think about the customers that payed with the understanding there wouldnt be any issues. Now I am only saying this because I have noticed in the past that with updates have come major issues and when they role this into there next update alot of people are going to have issues. I even seen issues with the older WGA, the hole validate this then click that then you have to reboot then revaildate. Its a bunch of bull and I am not about to sit quietly while Microsoft walks all over us. All I'm saying is GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME and there will be no need for updates and validation.
    S25vd2xlZGdlIGlzIHBvd2VyIQ

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