Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Anti-Piracy Windows 7 Update Phones Home Quarterly

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the who-owns-your-computer dept.

Microsoft 819

Lauren Weinstein sends in news of a major and disturbing Microsoft anti-piracy initiative called Windows Activation Technologies, or WAT. Here is Microsoft's blog post giving their perspective on what WAT is for. From Lauren's blog: "The release of Windows 7 'Update for Microsoft Windows (KB71033)' will change the current activation and anti-piracy behavior of Windows 7 by triggering automatic 'phone home' operations over the Internet to Microsoft servers, typically for now at intervals of around 90 days. ... These automatic queries will repeatedly — apparently for as long as Windows is installed — validate your Windows 7 system against Microsoft's latest database of pirated system signatures (currently including more than 70 activation exploits known to Microsoft). If your system matches — again even if up to that time (which could be months or even years since you obtained the system) it had been declared to be genuine — then your system will be 'downgraded' to 'non-genuine' status until you take steps to obtain what Microsoft considers to be an authentic, validated, Windows 7 license. ... KB971033... is scheduled to deploy to the manual downloading 'Genuine Microsoft Software' site on February 16, and start pushing out automatically through the Windows Update environment on February 23. ... [F]or Microsoft to assert that they have the right to treat ordinary PC-using consumers in this manner — declaring their systems to be non-genuine and downgrading them at any time — is rather staggering." Update: 02/12 02:08 GMT by KD : Corrected the Microsoft Knowledge Base number to include a leading 9 that had been omitted in the pre-announcement, per L. Weinstein.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

False Positives? (5, Insightful)

N3tRunner (164483) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101700)

I wonder how many false positives this will generate? The thing is, for every person who pirates Windows 7, there is a fairly decent chance that they will be doing so with an activation code which a genuine user may have purchased. I wonder if MS has figured out some way to deal with this issue? I wouldn't bet on it.

Son of WGA (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101736)

I wonder how many false positives this will generate?

Probably no more than Windows XP, whose "Windows Genuine Advantage" module has the same behavior.

Re:Son of WGA (5, Informative)

Knara (9377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101890)

Not to mention that it's trivial to get your machine re-authorized over the phone if you actually did buy your copy of the OS and end up being a false positive.

Hell, Microsoft reauthorized my OEM copy of Vista Home Premium twice when I moved the install to a new system, in spite of the license saying they don't allow that. Awfully kind of them, I thought.

Re:Son of WGA (5, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101922)

it's a lot less trivial for folks who never bought it (and thus pirated) by just disabling this WAT. Nice to know MS is treating their paying customers almost as well as it treats the ones that don't pay.

Re:Son of WGA (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101978)

I am sure that will be perfect consolation to granny as she has her system disabled and then has to deal with some phone monkey.

Mandatory license management for consumer products is Brazil-type absurd. It's annoying enough for corporate products.

New Upgrade Path (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101910)

Now all MS needs to do is release a virus to modify a Genuine Win7 machine to become non-Genuine, thereby forcing the user to buy Windows again. And again. And again....

Re:False Positives? (5, Insightful)

DeadPixels (1391907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101740)

I wonder if MS has figured out some way to deal with this issue? I wouldn't bet on it.

Why should they, at least from their point of view? Corporate thinking here is just "well, maybe we'll get a few false positives, but gee, we'll have stopped those pirates!" They don't give a damn about catching innocents by mistake if it doesn't impact their bottom line. And it won't, because the average user is just going to phone tech support and deal with the grief and hassle, because they don't see any other option.

Re:False Positives? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101816)

The thing is, for every person who pirates Windows 7, there is a fairly decent chance that they will be doing so with an activation code which a genuine user may have purchased.

Nearly all the Windows piracy out there either uses corporate versions (hence the key is used thousands of times already) or they involve hacks that disable/neuter/replace the WGA components. As a general rule, they don't involve using the individual license keys that you get when you buy a retail or system builder version of Windows.

Re:False Positives? (0, Redundant)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102064)

Vista/7 doesn't have Volume License Keys anymore AFAIK, the "thousands of times" keys are only for XP and earlier.

Re:False Positives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102134)

This actually sounds like a great piece of data for worms to harvest now though.

You can EASILY extract the license key from a windows machine using a registry query. If you have already PWN'd the system with your botnet worm, and Windows license keys are now more valuable, it would be a slam dunk to just extract them and then build keygens (with your malware cleverly attached) that make use of this data.

In short, I dont think this will stop pirates at all. It will just make one problem (appear) less, while potentially causing a vacuum that makes another problem MUCH MUCH worse.

Re:False Positives? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102120)

typical slashdot to not give a fuck about the actual problem (piracy) but to kid themselves that its all going to be about 'false positives'. yeah right.

W7 cost tens of millions to develop. They have the right to protect that investment, despite the best efforts of pro-piracy thieves here who think they were born with an entitlement to other peoples work.

This will have ZERO impact on legit buyers of Windows 7. I think its awesome that the slashdot thieves will have to put up with this. As a legit W7 buyer, I won't. Deal with it pirates.

Re:False Positives? (1)

flahwho (1243110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102136)

Undoubtedly there will be that not-so major OEM that installs Win7 on (perhaps 100's)thousands of systems, perfectly legal that will eventually be mis-identified as non-genuine. we may also have issues with MSDN licenced, legal VM's etc.

Lawyers, Unite! (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102142)

I wonder how many false positives this will generate?

I love the smell of class action lawsuits in the morning...it smells like.... money!

Who's On First? (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101702)

Lauren Weinstein sends in news of a major and disturbing Microsoft anti-piracy initiative called Windows Activation Technologies, or WAT.

Microsoft Phone Support: Thank you for calling Microsoft, all calls may be monitored for training purposes and to ensure quality of service. Now, what seems to be the problem ...
Customer: That's right.
*pause*
Microsoft Phone Support: ... ? Sir, you have to give me more information.
Customer: I'll tell you my problem. WAT is my problem.
Microsoft Phone Support: Sir, I don't know the answer to that question, you haven't told me yet.
Customer: I didn't ask you a question.
Microsoft Phone Support: Then why did you call? Why do you need help?
Customer: WAT's wrong. I can't activate Windows 7 but I just bought it!
Microsoft Phone Support: Okay, let's try to diagnose this problem. What's wrong?
Customer: Yes, I already said that, I know WAT is wrong! That is precisely why I called!
Microsoft Phone Support: Wait, why are you calling?
Customer: WAT!
Microsoft Phone Support: I said, why are you calling?!
Customer: WAT! WAT, GODDAMNIT, WAT!!!

Re:Who's On First? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101734)

Brilliant :D

Re:Who's On First? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101764)

Lauren Weinstein sends in news of a major and disturbing Microsoft anti-piracy initiative called Windows Activation Technologies, or WAT.

Microsoft Phone Support: Thank you for calling Microsoft, all calls may be monitored for training purposes and to ensure quality of service. Now, what seems to be the problem ...

Customer: That's right.

*pause*

Microsoft Phone Support: ... ? Sir, you have to give me more information.

Customer: I'll tell you my problem. WAT is my problem.

Microsoft Phone Support: Sir, I don't know the answer to that question, you haven't told me yet.

Customer: I didn't ask you a question.

Microsoft Phone Support: Then why did you call? Why do you need help?

Customer: WAT's wrong. I can't activate Windows 7 but I just bought it!

Microsoft Phone Support: Okay, let's try to diagnose this problem. What's wrong?

Customer: Yes, I already said that, I know WAT is wrong! That is precisely why I called!

Microsoft Phone Support: Wait, why are you calling?

Customer: WAT!

Microsoft Phone Support: I said, why are you calling?!

Customer: WAT! WAT, GODDAMNIT, WAT!!!

If you're too stupid to spell it out, you're too stupid to deserve the oxygen you're breathing.

Re:Who's On First? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101876)

> If you're too stupid to spell it out, you're too stupid to deserve the oxygen you're breathing.

Look it's a drone taking it personally.....

Re:Who's On First? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101906)

You must be a real hit at parties.

Re:Who's On First? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101926)

>enter trapdoor
Yes, probably just as well to give up looking, and heaven knows there's enough packing to do, what with the rest of the family in uproar. Oh well.

      *** You have missed the point entirely ***

In that game you scored 0 out of a possible 550, in 3 turns, giving you the rank of hapless Tourist.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, give the FULL score for that game or QUIT?
>

Re:Who's On First? (5, Funny)

skuzzlebutt (177224) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101958)

Customer: What's your name? I need to talk to your supervisor.
Microsoft Phone Support: Hu.
Customer: (head explodes)

Re:Who's On First? (1)

rsax (603351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102094)

Sir, I salute you.

Now with Continuous Auditing! (aka surveillance) (3, Insightful)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101730)

WAT? WATTF!

Like serial numbers, product keys, and activation before, automatic auditing like WGA is proving not to be as effective as Microsoft would like... this is surveillance plain and simple. Looks like I'm going to need to update my article on problems with non-free software... (Free Software or: How I Learned... [trygnulinux.com] ).

Statecraftsman's free software article (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101814)

Looks like I'm going to need to update my article on problems with non-free software

I read your article. It already mentions WGA, and the auditing explained in the article is Son of WGA. But as far as I can tell, one of the big reasons to run Windows 7 instead of Brown Debian [ubuntu.com] is video games. As I understand it, free software developers have historically not done a good job of making those as proprietary software developers. Part of that has to do with the lack of a high-profile free meshes/textures/audio community.

Re:Statecraftsman's free software article (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101964)

clearly you don't understand - it has nothing to do with "proprietary doing better" and everything to do with DirextX (and it's focus on all gaming) being owned 100% by Microsoft.

When does DirectX release new versions? Shortly after when wine cracks the full functionality of the existing DirectX.

Re:Statecraftsman's free software article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102100)

Well that was meaningless. It didn't even rhyme.

Re:Statecraftsman's free software article (5, Insightful)

mystikkman (1487801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102126)

I am sorry but there are many other reasons. Linux audio is a pain for game developers. The tools are lacking. OpenGL standards developers sided with CAD companies thereby screwing over game developers. I know I'll be downmodded for saying things that are meant to be brushed under the carpet on Slashdot but I don't care about karma.

OpenGL and SDL instead of DX (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102128)

DirectX

Perhaps my point missed you. Free games don't need DirectX; they can instead use OpenGL graphics and SDL audio and input. So why aren't there more Free games?

Re:Statecraftsman's free software article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102138)

And DirectX is Microsoft's proprietary technology (which they paid to develop).

What's your point?

Re:Statecraftsman's free software article (4, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102098)

Video gaming on Linux has come a long way thanks to Wine. I tried TF2 a few versions ago and was surprised how well it ran and how free it was of any graphical glitches. Only thing it was missing was DX9 support. The performance was almost as good as under XP.

Re:Now with Continuous Auditing! (aka surveillance (4, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101960)

Funny how this is happening right after Microsoft won that lawsuit regarding WGA.

Well that pretty much settles it for me. (2, Interesting)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101746)

Looks like the Win7 upgrade is off the table for me. Dual-booting XP & Kubuntu for the foreseeable future!

Re:Well that pretty much settles it for me. (2, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101956)

Enjoying WGA that much, eh?

Re:Well that pretty much settles it for me. (2, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102118)

Yeah, it only phones home on install. Not every 90 days.

Giving up on the server market, eh? (-1, Flamebait)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101756)

Who in their right mind would use Windows on a server any more?

Re:Giving up on the server market, eh? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101824)

Someone who needs application software for which there is no reasonable Linux/Unix equivalent. Such software includes mid-range accounting systems and point of sale systems.

Re:Giving up on the server market, eh? (2, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101862)

And this is a nice little wake up call to those folks, telling them to get busy on their Linux port. Again yet more poor strategic planning.

Re:Giving up on the server market, eh? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102052)

Someone who needs application software for which there is no reasonable Linux/Unix equivalent. Such software includes mid-range accounting systems and point of sale systems.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Windows isn't going away until Sage come out with a Linux version

Re:Giving up on the server market, eh? (2, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101944)

Who in their right mind would use Windows on a server any more?

Who in their right mind puts windows on a server anyway? Crazy people and masochists, that's who.

So what do they do (0, Troll)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101772)

[F]or Microsoft to assert that they have the right to treat ordinary PC-using consumers in this manner -- declaring their systems to be non-genuine and downgrading them at any time -- is rather staggering

Yes, how horrible that MS take steps to get paid for what they produce. I take it MS is supposed to do nothing and hope that you'll be nice and pay them?

Steps like these need to be taken because, well, people pretty much can not be trusted to do the right thing without the fear of a reprisal looming over their head.

Re:So what do they do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101848)

But how does revalidating already validated installations solve the problem of piracy?

Re:So what do they do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102000)

If it's validated using a leaked corporate/unlimited key. MS will blacklist that key and all installations will be invalidated. If you are the original owner of that key, you would need to petition it to MS and find out who in your company leaked it...

This is already being done (kind of) with the required WGA updates. They have a list of leaked corporate keys that get blacklisted.

Re:So what do they do (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101920)

Steps like these need to be taken because, well, people pretty much can not be trusted to do the right thing without the fear of a reprisal looming over their head.

The problem with steps like these is that they will mostly cause problems for people who tried to do the right thing by buying Windows 7 legitimately but now Microsoft identifies it as a pirate key (either because they got it from a shady character who was selling illegal copies with some pirated key, or because the legitmate key they got has since been pirated--or at least identified as pirated). People who knowingly are using a pirated copy will either have developed a work around that avoids this problem, or will be expecting this to come up and have a plan in place to deal with it.

They're already doing too much. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101990)

I take it MS is supposed to do nothing and hope that you'll be nice and pay them?

Microsoft isn't "doing nothing". Even without this additional step Windows 7 is already more aggressive than any other software I own, and their profitability isn't even vaguely at risk. There is nowhere near adequate justification for them to take this additional step.

Re:So what do they do (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102024)

Looks like SOMEONE has forgotten the last time Microsoft tried this and hundreds of thousands of XP users were suddenly declared "non-genuine".

The problem is not that people don't want to pay. If they didn't Microsoft would already be broke. The problem is that the pirates have already figured out the algorithm that MS uses to make the keys and are already distributing keygens. These keygens are making LEGITIMATE KEYS that may or may not be out "in the wild" already. If MS chooses to block these keys, the keys already released in real Win7 packages are ALSO blocked.

Can you imagine buying a brand new copy of Win7, peeling off the shrink-wrap, going through the setup, and then having your own PC tell you that the copy of Win7 you JUST BOUGHT is "Non-Genuine"? Good luck trying to take it back to the store once you've opened it.

So tell me, genius, who suffers when MS pulls a stupid stunt like this? The pirates? HELL NO! They just re-gen another key and go on their happy way. It's the LEGITIMATE CUSTOMERS that suffer 100% of the time. They are the ones who have to sit through Microsoft's interminable hold times and be treated like criminals. Not the real pirates. A system like this is pretty much custom-made to piss off the customer base.

Say hello to Yet Another PR Disaster(tm) from your friends in Redmond.

Re:So what do they do (2, Insightful)

IICV (652597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102034)

I take it MS is supposed to do nothing and hope that you'll be nice and pay them?

In a word, yes. Microsoft is concentrating entirely too much on a market that is simply not as large as they think it is - namely, the people who a) currently pirate Microsoft software and b) would pay for Microsoft software if pirating it was too difficult. This is a vanishingly small group of people, and in order to get these people to buy Microsoft software they are adversely affecting everyone who buys Microsoft software.

Further, this means of verifying that Windows 7 installations will simply not work. Microsoft is being nice and packaging it in one update, which means that what this update does and how it works will be easily reverse engineered. Once the pirates know how it works, there are a ridiculous number of ways to circumvent it at every step of the process - it would be relatively easy to intercept the downgrade command coming from the server, or change the downgrade routine so that it does nothing, or spoof the current signature with a known-good one (and if Microsoft bans that, they'll be banning every single legitimate user with that signature), or to do any number of other things that would be come apparent after reverse-engineering the update.

So yes, Microsoft shouldn't do anything - because doing nothing is better than wasting money and goodwill on something useless.

Re:So what do they do (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102048)

It will either not work because the guidelines they use will be too lenient to actually catch any piracy. (this would be the case if this is purely done to appease stockholders)

OR

It will not work because the guidelines are too strict and there will be too many false positives.

No one really cares that Microsoft is trying to stop piracy of their products, they just don't want to be a false positive.

Re:So what do they do (4, Funny)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102132)

Could you please be so kind as to post your name, address and phone number, please? Oh, and leave your keys under the mat.

All the people who made products you may or may not have in your house just want to stop by once a quarter to make sure they get paid for what they produce. You can't just expect them to do nothing and hope that you'll be nice and pay them. Those books you picked up at the "clearing out old stuff event" at the library? The authors deserve to get paid for what they produce. Representatives for Mr. King will be over shortly to conduct an audit. If you are found to be out of compliance, they will rip out all but the first chapter. You can use the 'downgraded' copy to decide if you want to make a full purchase.

Note to self.... (4, Interesting)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101774)

...skip update KB71033.

Not affected. (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101778)

Neither should you be. Linux and BSD are yours. Truly yours.

Re:Not affected. (1)

ldconfig (1339877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102078)

Thank goodness for Linux. Dell Precision M90 - Linux Mint 7 (2) Custom build quad core desktops - Linux Mint 8 4tb dual core media server - Gentoo/pytivo Dual core 2tb HTPC - Ubuntu 9.10/Mythdora 12.23 beta4/XBMC/Boxee Dual nic mini-itx Ion - Smoothwall router/firewall No mickeymousesoft tax paid on any of them (I bought the M90 used and tossed out the crap hard drive then installed a WD 500gb 2.5" and Mint 7 sweet is a under statement) Raw sockets vbs scripting ActiveX no real root = never in my home

Just going to annoy legit customers (4, Insightful)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101780)

I have a machine, purchased by my employer that has to be validated against the key server at the office.

The machine however is at my house. The only way to make it validate is to ensure that I'm connected to the VPN when it attempts to find its key.

Does this mean once a quarter (if I have this update) my machine will downgrade itself, make me hop on the VPN, revalidate etc.?

That's just damn annoying. I'll probably end up cracking my legit install to stop this stupid behavior. When the cracked version of your software is less obnoxious than the legitimate version you have a problem.

Re:Just going to annoy legit customers (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102130)

Yes, that is the exact problem with the new Key servers for windows 7..

You have 2 choices for companies with the right licenses. Have a license server running in your org. All systems much check in every X days to make sure they are valid and counted. If you have people working offsite, they better get VPN access, and use it at least once every X days. (in the age of Webmail and stuff, actually having to VPN in is getting less common). Also, that server has to connect to MS every X days to report back, or they all start getting marked as non-genuine.

Option 2. Have all windows 7 machines report back to MS. you can have a person or two that can access the data on MS's servers.. But as far as we can tell, re-installing the OS counts as another activation.

Not news (5, Insightful)

El Gigante de Justic (994299) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101782)

I don't see how this is in any way news or shocking. WAT = rebranded WGA.

The only major question I would have, is if it's only calling back every 90 days, how many false positives will it get from people doing major hardware upgrades over that three month span. (I'm assuming it compares the system specs with the license key as WGA did to determine if it was actually the same computer or not)

And at least they just downgrade you - they could instead just shut your system down for a suspected license violation and prevent any log-ins.

Re:Not news (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101974)

And at least they just downgrade you - they could instead just shut your system down for a suspected license violation and prevent any log-ins.

I get the impression businesses don't often switch to linux because they feel it is hard to work with. If a false positive shuts down a good portion of their machines, Windows suddenly becomes the OS that is hard to work with. Customers have shown time and again they'll put up with a good amount of annoyance, so WAT just stays in that range and few people will actually move their money elsewhere.

NB: This is the impression I get from the IT types posting on slashdot. I am sure someone with actual IT experience can elaborate and/or correct what I am saying.

Hoooly crap... (5, Insightful)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101790)

Ok, conspiracy theorist point of view here, apologies... but... I mean, they can basically disable/cripple anyone's computer for any reason without notice.

Think of what governments would like to do with this little feature, during wartimes, etc...

Do you really trust Microsoft that much? Do you really want them to have that much control over your computer at any point in time? Your ability to communicate online?

Come on, this is really getting ridiculous.

Re:Hoooly crap... (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101962)

Which is why instead of upgrading my trail version of Windows 7 I'm switching to Ubuntu 9.10.


Crap... now how am I supposed to play Star Craft 2...

The importance of freedom (1, Informative)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101792)

I know that there is some Windows-only software that people need to use, but if you don't need such software, it's worth the effort to switch to Free Software. This issue highlights yet another reason why such a move may be important.

Can it be avoided? (4, Insightful)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101796)

You could manage to avoid WGA by unchecking the checkbox when it asked to install via update, then making sure it didn't mention un-selected updates. I wonder if judicious users can keep an eye out for this and do the same?

The 1960s called... (4, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101806)

...they want their mainframes back. This is not unlike IBM charging for use of their hardware and software on a per cycle basis. One of the people I worked with back in the 90s remembers earlier models of mainframes actually had mechanical car-like odometers that were read by a "meter reader" like the gas company, and IBM would send them a bill.

And it is a guarantee that enterprising individuals will come up with a solution to WAT as my former co-worker did; crack the box and reset the numbers. Not enough to arouse suspicion, but just enough that they wouldn't be charged for a huge end-of-month load on the processor.

Allow me to call it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101818)

Windows Annoyance Technologies.

Re:Allow me to call it (0, Redundant)

j.sanchez1 (1030764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102164)

Windows Annoyance Technologies.

Or, better yet:
The Windows Annoyance Technology

Bah (5, Insightful)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101832)

Windows would be so much better without Microsoft.

Re:Bah (1)

webishop (1709812) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101892)

It's called Linux.

Re:Bah (5, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101986)

No, it's really fucking not. Linux is fine for what it is, but what it is not is Windows sans MS.

Really bad strategy (2, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101842)

The false positives will turn into real positives. When a machine gets marked as non-genuine, it stops receiving updates. Which means is WILL get 0wned by the next zero-day attack.

They are basically just manufacturing more spambot machines with this strategy.

Re:Really bad strategy (1)

ragefan (267937) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102054)

The false positives will turn into real positives. When a machine gets marked as non-genuine, it stops receiving updates. Which means is WILL get 0wned by the next zero-day attack.

Not getting updates will not stop zero-day attacks. By definition, if there is an update available to stop it, then the exploit is no longer "Zero-day".

So don't install the update. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101844)

While your at it.. why not tell all your friends that windows update has been compromised and spy-ware will get onto their computer if they download the update.

Bit of a dirty trick but hey.

News flash (4, Informative)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101850)

If you buy a computer with windows on it you own the hardware. You never own the software. You license it on the condition that you agree to the EULA. Microsoft's EULA states that you give up all rights, they are not accountable for anything.

Microsoft users have been and will always be slaves to the evil empire.

Re:News flash (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101918)

Money users have been and will always be slaves to the evil empire. if you don't like it, don't use it. Nobody is forced into doing anything here, it's all personal choice (signing EULA and using software).

Re:News flash (1)

SakuraDreams (1427009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102038)

Signing EULA? Where did you sign that?

Time to complain to the EC again.

Re:News flash (0, Flamebait)

Montezumaa (1674080) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102062)

The Autodesk opinion is calling you a fucking idiot liar. When you purchase software, you OWN that copy of the software forever.

http://bit.ly/ct8D08 [bit.ly] (that is to lawupdates.com)

Where do you people come up with this foolishness? So, you put up your corporation and I will raise you an opinion that really matters.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101854)

If you are still using Windows at this point, I'm sure you've accepted any terms that Microsoft will impose on you.

Riiiiight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101860)

Yeah, this is an anti-piracy measure.

Lemme see... I'll bet that, if it can't reach Microsoft, it will also downgrade. After all, what good is an anti-piracy measure if it can be bypassed just by blocking access to Microsoft? So this is really a solution for all those pesky users out there who just didn't realize how good it would be for them to upgrade to Vista and wanted to hold onto their antiquated XP. Now, when Windows 8 comes out, all they will have to do is pull the plug on the validation server and watch the money roll in as people are forced to upgrade to avoid running on a crippled machine.

Do you have enough reasons to quit using their shitty software yet?

Re:Riiiiight! (3, Informative)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101992)

Let me see if I understand this correctly. When I finally migrate to Win 7, I will download a cracked copy with all annoying and useless crap stripped out, that fast installs and does not have this call home program in it. So explain how again this stops piracy?

Re:Riiiiight! (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102044)

Do you have enough reasons to quit using their shitty software yet?

Nope. Not until I can run the same software on Linux that they do at work, and it can run all my games, and I don't have to edit and compile my own drivers because the company decided not to make compatable 64-bit drivers for my soundcard for Linux.

OEM copies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101874)

Every "pirate" copy of Windows 7 I've run across is a full OEM copy, which doesn't ask for a key, though I do think they activate. How exactly are they going to deal with those? Kill all the copies from that particular OEM?

Calling every 90 days (3, Funny)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101882)

That means I have at most 90 days left!

I'll start spinning counter-clockwise.

No internet?!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101886)

what will happen if the consumer looses there internet for a few months? i think quite alot of people assume every house hold has some type of internet connection, but this isnt true as not all households can afford the internet.

WAT is Voluntary and Doesn't Impact OS Usage (5, Informative)

VTBlue (600055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101930)

//Microsoft Employee here//

If you read the blog post it has some valid points about how it works:

1. Voluntary patch
2. When non-genuine copies deteced, OS functionality is NOT reduced
3. Yes, Microsoft does decided to notify/annoy you that you're not using genuine software which is a good thing because most people don't know they are.
4. The goal is reduce the number of Windows installations using pirated copies many of which include malicious code.
5. No personally identifiable information is transmitted. Details on this can be found in ANY of our privacy policies which are standard across all Microsoft products.
6. It does not apply to any enterprise installations where Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) is used. @FranTaylor, lots of people use Windows on a server...what planet are you one? :)

The slashdot headline is a little too Orwellian considering the body of the blog post. Looking forward to all the responses...I think.

Re:WAT is Voluntary and Doesn't Impact OS Usage (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102152)

Most people know that they are using 'non-genuine' version. Ones that don't know, when they learn all they would want to do is get rid of nagging popup. As many have said, Microsoft is in denial about 'non-genuine' user base and mostly hurting legitimate users.. 99% of ones who didn't pay for genuine version will do whatever it takes to keep using whatever they have without paying your company a cent.

Re:WAT is Voluntary and Doesn't Impact OS Usage (1)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102154)

4. The goal is reduce the number of Windows installations using pirated copies many of which include malicious code.

Ah, so you're actively trying to limit your deployment base? Microsoft is only relevant because it's everywhere. It's only everywhere because it historically has been trivial to pirate. Nice work shooting yourselves in the foot.

failure mode (4, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101932)

What happens if the domain name and IP addresses used for validation are null-routed?

Re:failure mode (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102146)

Or it's being used on a system that is not connected to the Internet?

Yes, there are systems that legally can NOT have 'Net connections.

So what? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101954)

Where was all this righteous indignation when Windows XP was released? How many of you even remember the last version of Windows that was released without some form of this "activation"? If this is such a problem, then the people complaining should be voting with their dollars... but that isn't happening, is it?

What if MS go bust? (1)

15Bit (940730) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101996)

What happens to the authentication if MS goes out of business?

Ok, so its an unlikely scenario, but having someone as big as MS do this will set the trend for web based authentication of everything. How many small companies are going to follow this lead, forcing regular security checks down the throats of customers on the basis that it is an "Industry Standard" way of doing things. And how many of those are going to go bust in a year or two, leaving customers up s**t creak with no method of propulsion?

Makes Sense (1)

dawilcox (1409483) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102002)

If you use Windows, be prepared to succumb to the conditions of the company that produces it. This includes if the company that produces it wants to assure that you actually paid for the software you installed. If you are not all right with this, don't use Windows.

So bend over and bark like a dog (1)

rimcrazy (146022) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102006)

Just say NO to Micro$oft

Me I run OSX and FC8 thank you very much.

after vista.. (1)

Multiwp (1743246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102010)

windows 7 like a heaven, after vista. :/

OEM workaround (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102022)

Didn't the OEMs strongarm Microsoft into inserting a backdoor into Vista so that there would be no chance of their customers calling the OEMs and complaining of their (genuine) copies of Windows being considered non-genuine? I'm guessing this backdoor is built into 7 as well, and can be (if it hasn't already been) easily exploited.

Now THAT'S smart marketing! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102026)

Brilliant, give more people yet another reason to switch to Apple. WTG MS.

Firewall? (1)

Naito (667851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102046)

Anyway to block this off at the gateway? then claim that your computer doesn't have internet access and thus shouldn't be disabled if they do disable it? I just don't like the idea of having ANYTHING "phone home" regularly behind my back

I'm tired of paying money to rent software (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102056)

Essentially we don't buy anything anymore. Everyone out there seems to have control of my computer but me. Yes I can spend the time and disable some of the functions but it's constant cold war of disabling the latest functions only to get hit with the next round. I want to use software not fight OSs. Also I'm tired of fighting software licensing, period. I'm not from the camp that wants free software I pay for every piece, except I do love some open source like Open Office. The point is why do I constantly have to deal updates? My bloody HP Printer driver constantly demands to be updated. I'm not stupid and I know they aren't releasing updates that fast. Many of pay thousands of dollars just for our desk top let alone software and yet everyone insists they should have control of our machines at all times. 10, 15, 20 years ago this was not the case. 15 years ago due to corruption issues I used to reinstall my OS and all software once a month. The machine ran better and the software crashed less. It took me a couple of hours and gave me a fresh machine each time. These days I live in terror of redoing a machine. I have a lot of software and at best we're talking days and generally it's weeks before I can get all the licenses squared away again. It's reached the point where I dread buying a new machine.

There's an implicit guarantee in this... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102058)

There's an interesting an implicit guarantee in this. By taking such steps as to certify that the software is "authentic", to some extent, Microsoft now accepts some responsibility for the state of a Windows installation.

if you don't like it, don't use windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102080)

There are a multitude of excellent Linux distributions, BSD variants, and Solaris. Why would you want to use an operating system that isn't free? It just seems crazy.
Why would you want to use an operating system that violates your right to privacy, includes digital restriction management viruses, and suffers from virus and malware infestations. It just seems stupid.

Maybe this is a stupid question. (2, Interesting)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102088)

Forgive me if this is a stupid question with an obvious answer, but I am not a Windows person. How does this work when the machine is not connected to the internet? Say, sequestered on it's own network, but not leaving the room.

Robin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102096)

This creates an interesting issue when Windows 7 is phased out. My company has been using Office 2003, but that recently fell off the Microsoft supported software list and now they want $50 every time we attempt to activate the software. I think forcing future upgrades is also part of the Microsoft strategy.

Reason #eleventy billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102112)

This is why I stick with windows XP and slowly move over to ubuntu.

Oh, sign me up for THAT! (1)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102114)

To all the XP haters... THIS is why I will never upgrade. No tangible benefits, a larger footprint, and now a wonderful, I-never-would-have-expected-this-from-Microsoft! update to remind you just who's system you're using. Hint: not yours.

I say just let 'em do it (1)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102140)

If we keep making such a loud noise every time this company starts to do something so utterly blatantly stupid, they'll keep half-way back-tracking before it makes it to the consumers, and they will continue to endure this company forever. I'm getting really tired of hearing people say things like "yeah they're a little evil, but I like their products", or "they're not really that evil--it's not worth the pain of switching". I say let's just keep quiet about it this time and let the Windows users dawn the Emperor's new clothes. C'mon, it'll be fun!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?