Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

M$ plans to give some pirates a break

Filed under

The move is the latest in a series of expansions for the Windows Genuine Advantage program, which Microsoft quietly launched last September. The program, which runs software that verifies whether a particular copy of Windows is legitimately licensed, is the linchpin of a campaign by Microsoft to boost the number of paying customers among the millions of people that use Windows.

The Windows Genuine effort started as a purely voluntary program, but Microsoft has since been requiring validation for more and more customers who want to download software from the company.

In March, for example, Microsoft said it would require those who want to download a foreign-language pack for Windows to first validate their copy of Windows.

Starting Wednesday, customers in the United States whose copies of Windows XP Professional do not pass validation will be presented with the option of getting a free licensed copy. To do so, customers will have to fill out a counterfeit report with Microsoft and be able to provide the Windows disk they have as well as some kind of receipt for their purchase.

"Our goal is really to ensure that the complimentary offer is for people who really truly were unknowing victims of counterfeit," said David Lazar, director of the Genuine Windows program.

Those who don't have the disk or the receipt are eligible to buy a licensed copy online for $149. That's less than the cost of a full copy of Windows XP Pro but more than what customers pay when they get Windows on a new PC.

"At first glance it seems kind of self-defeating to reward pirates with a free licensed copy," said The NPD Group analyst Ross Rubin. However, he said it is an opportunity for Microsoft to show customers the benefits of its official software and potentially win them over as legitimate customers for future versions. Plus, it could help them track down those who are heading up piracy rings.

"Much as narcotics officers bypass the lower-level dealers to get at the kingpins, what they are likely trying to do is get at the distributors (of pirated Windows)," Rubin said.

Test program

For now, the Windows validation process remains optional for most customers, though sometime this summer, Microsoft plans to make such scanning mandatory for those who want to download software from the company's site.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

openSUSE Tumbleweed Getting Linux Kernel 4.8.3 Soon, GNOME 3.22.1 Landed

openSUSE developer Dominique Leuenberger informs the openSUSE Tumbleweed community about the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software projects that landed in the stable repositories. Read more

KDE Applications 16.12 Software Suite Lands December 15 for KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS

KDE Plasma's KDE Applications 16.08 software suite series will receive just one more point release, namely KDE Applications 16.08.3, which lands November 10, so it's time for the next major branch. Read more

Android Leftovers

Security News

  • How your DVR was hijacked to help epic cyberattack
    Technology experts warned for years that the millions of Internet-connected "smart" devices we use every day are weak, easily hijacked and could be turned against us. The massive siege on Dyn, a New Hampshire-based company that monitors and routes Internet traffic, shows those ominous predictions are now a reality. An unknown attacker intermittently knocked many popular websites offline for hours Friday, from Amazon to Twitter and Netflix to Etsy. How the breach occurred is a cautionary tale of the how the rush to make humdrum devices “smart” while sometimes leaving out crucial security can have major consequences.
  • Find Out If One of Your Devices Helped Break the Internet
    Security experts have been warning for years that the growing number of unsecured Internet of Things devices would bring a wave of unprecedented and catastrophic cyber attacks. Just last month, a hacker publicly released malware code used in a record-breaking attack that hijacked 1.5 million internet-connected security cameras, refrigerators, and other so-called “smart” devices that were using default usernames and passwords. On Friday, the shit finally hit the fan.
  • Once more, with passion: Fingerprints suck as passwords
    Fingerprints aren’t authentication. Fingerprints are identity. They are usernames. Fingerprints are something public, which is why it should really bother nobody with a sense of security that the FBI used them to unlock seized phones. You’re literally leaving your fingerprints on every object you touch. That makes for an abysmally awful authentication token.
  • Strengthen cyber-security with Linux
    Using open source software is a viable and proven method of combatting cyber-crime It’s encouraging to read that the government understands the seriousness of the loss of $81 million dollars via the hacking of Bangladesh Bank, and that a cyber-security agency is going to be formed to prevent further disasters. Currently, information security in each government department is up to the internal IT staff of that department.
  • Canonical announces live kernel patching for Ubuntu
    Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution, has announced that it will provide a live kernel patching services for version 16.04 which was released in April.
  • Everything you know about security is wrong
    If I asked everyone to tell me what security is, what do you do about it, and why you do it. I wouldn't get two answers that were the same. I probably wouldn't even get two that are similar. Why is this? After recording Episode 9 of the Open Source Security Podcast I co-host, I started thinking about measuring a lot. It came up in the podcast in the context of bug bounties, which get exactly what they measure. But do they measure the right things? I don't know the answer, nor does it really matter. It's just important to keep this in mind as in any system, you will get exactly what you measure. [...] If you have 2000 employees, 200 systems, 4 million lines of code, and 2 security people, that's clearly a disaster waiting to happen. If you have 20, there may be hope. I have no idea what the proper ratios should be, if you're willing to share ratios with me I'd love to start collecting data. As I said, I don't have scientific proof behind this, it's just something I suspect is true.
  • Home Automation: Coping with Insecurity in the IoT
    Reading Matthew Garret’s exposés of home automation IoT devices makes most engineers think “hell no!” or “over my dead body!”. However, there’s also the siren lure that the ability to program your home, or update its settings from anywhere in the world is phenomenally useful: for instance, the outside lights in my house used to depend on two timers (located about 50m from each other). They were old, loud (to the point the neighbours used to wonder what the buzzing was when they visited) and almost always wrongly set for turning the lights on at sunset. The final precipitating factor for me was the need to replace our thermostat, whose thermistor got so eccentric it started cooling in winter; so away went all the timers and their loud noises and in came a z-wave based home automation system, and the guilty pleasure of having an IoT based home automation system. Now the lights precisely and quietly turn on at sunset and off at 23:00 (adjusting themselves for daylight savings); the thermostat is accessible from my phone, meaning I can adjust it from wherever I happen to be (including Hong Kong airport when I realised I’d forgotten to set it to energy saving mode before we went on holiday). Finally, there’s waking up at 3am to realise your wife has fallen asleep over her book again and being able to turn off her reading light from your alarm clock without having to get out of bed … Automation bliss!