Windows Genuine Advantage (anti-piracy check) Hacked

The media sure seems to get all excited about some stories which will ultimately will mean absolutely nothing. It didn’t seem particularly newsworthy to me that the day after WGA went live (see our other blog entry) people figured out how to bypass it by pasting a line of JavaScript in their browser’s address bar. Slightly interesting, sure, but only slightly. It is a bug/weakness which Microsoft will address no doubt within days, and which is only allowing people to access content (upgrades and free downloads) which Microsoft was until they launched WGA giving away to anyone regardless of their pirated copy of Windows. So, those using pirated copies will now have had an extra week or so of access to previously free content. And those who don’t like having their computer scanned and have legit copies of Windows will have an extra week or two where they can avoid the privacy issues that the WGA program means to them. I just don’t see what the fuss is all about. Software will have bugs/weaknesses, and this one doesn’t put anyone’s data at risk, doesn’t damage anyone’s computer, and it’s not going to remain in place for long. If the hack reported was something truly significant, some proof of the theoretical impossibility of ever truly securing the WGA program. If it was some proof that Microsoft had been shipping duplicate Windows license keys to save on printing costs in the expectation that not everyone would activate, and thus would mean genuine copies wouldn’t activate in future, those would be stories. But, this story will be utterly unimportant in a few weeks when they’ve addressed this weakness. Others may be found, and there should be news articles about them, but I’m tired of seeing this non-event on the front page of tech news sites for days now. But, perhaps I’ve got it wrong, and others are extremely interested in the story, so, here it is:Windows Genuine Advantage Already Hacked … Twice

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