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Indian cracks Microsoft's anti-piracy program

By Alok Sharma
June 21, 2005 14:53 IST
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An Indian researcher has breached the much-touted "impenetrable" Windows Genuine Advantage of Microsoft.

Bangalore-based Debasis Mohanty has cracked WGA through an "easy-to-exploit" weakness in the software for generating illegal copies of the Windows XP programme.

Microsoft confirmed the claims of Mohanty, but sought to downplay it saying, "It represents very little threat." A company spokesperson said they did expect counterfeiters to try a number of different methods to circumvent safeguards provided by WGA.

WGA is an anti-piracy programme that keeps a tab on consumers whether they are running legitimately licensed copies of Windows XP.

Mohanty has posted a detailed proof-of-concept programme on the high-profile security mailing list of the software giant, showing how the WGA validation check can be tricked to generate key codes for use on illegal copies of the software.

Using a secondary Microsoft validation tool called 'genuinecheck.Exe', Mohanty claims to have made it possible for people to trick the safeguard mechanism and download and run the supposedly restricted software from Microsoft's download centre, he said.
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Alok Sharma
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