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MS To Limit Security Fixes to Legal Copies of Windows

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the how-could-this-possibly-be-surprising? dept.

Security 912

rufey writes "An Associated Press artcile on MSNBC is reporting that Microsoft is going to start restricting access to security updates from pirated copies of its Windows operating systems. Starting in mid 2005, if you have a pirated copy of Windows, the only way to obtain security updates will be through the automatic updates mechanism. And even that method may be restricted at a future date. The article is light on details about what versions of Windows this will affect. Parts of the system to check for a valid copy of Windows is already used when downloading software (such as Media Player) from Microsoft - except that validation is currently optional." EnderWigginsXenocide points out Reuters' version of the story.

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912 comments

For those who have RTFA issues... (5, Informative)

Deekin_Scalesinger (755062) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479176)

The main gist is that people who have their Windows Update set to automatically download the latest critical patches (through the Windows Security Center - insert oxymoron comment here) will not be affected at this time. If you manually go to Windows Update you will need to provide some sort of credentials (allow software to snoop on yer box or provide your key) to access content. I myself bought a copy of XP recently from Newegg for this exact purpose. I like Linux a lot and if I didn't game, I'd use it exclusively. Since I do game, Windows is a necessity, and I don't want to have a haxxored box because MS tightened down on allowing pirates (which I freely admit I was one) to patch their systems. Newegg has copies of XP pro for about $150.00 with the purchase of any hardware, which is a far cry from their $300.00 MSRP.

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (-1, Redundant)

omar05 (853477) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479180)

Thank goodness my version of XP is legit. :p

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479323)

thank goodness they think my copy is legit

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479211)

doesn't matter.

a copy of XP pro corp and a keygen passes their "check" with flying colors.

they cant stop the bulk of the "pirated" copies out there.

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479280)

they cant stop the bulk of the "pirated" copies out there.

Actually, this has been hashed and re-hashed several times. Its like saying credit card numbers wont work, as companies couldn't keep track of transactions - sounds ridiculous doesn't it. If MS wants to check all legitimate keys against their database and issue a verification code for patches then it CAN be done Corporate version or not.

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479359)

ok the home version or the pro retail version...

the keygen works great for both of these too..

hell you can keygen and REGISTER a copy and even call tech support and they happily talk to you!

several people here at work have keygened home versions that MSFT can not detect because they do not have a master database of printed keys. that would be a farking nightmare, only registered keys are stored in the DB.

anyways, at work we just recieved 35 laptops with XP home on them I blew away the install for our corp blanket license.

all those keys are legit and after install with a keygened key you regedit to put in that "dell" key and msft will never EVER know. hell put the farking sticker on the case too (those are REAL easy to peel off without damage.)

nice try msft employee.

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479339)

I don't know about you, but around here, I just go to any of the Internet cafe or LAN game shops, and they all have their legit copies of Windows XP with the CD keys on display, and I'd just copy down a few for future use...

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (4, Interesting)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479361)

I often wonder if this is an accurate comment - surely they have a big database full of keys they 'know' they've printed little green or blue stickers for right?

I know xpkey comes included on a lot of pirated XP cd's here in the Philippines, or if not, the guy or girl selling the CD advises you to download it.

Original
XP Professional costs roughly 8000 peso (US $160) XP Home about 5000 (US $100)

Pirated
XP Pro 100 peso.
XP Home 100 peso.

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (1)

Dr.Opveter (806649) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479258)

If you only use XP for gaming, why don't you just use it for that. I don't think my gaming machine with a non legit XP copy runs much of a risk getting hacked when i only use it to play games. If it's not connected to the internet i don't care what latest worm could attack my machine next cause it's simply not going to happen.
You can download updates for your games on a Linux machine that's hooked up transfer by USB stick or something...

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (2, Interesting)

Mikmorg (624030) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479374)

Don't exclude those who do online gaming. Although I think your point is mostly valid.. On the only windows box I have I could care less about security updates. Its routed through a linux box which watches/restricts traffic, and the win client has only installations of programs. All personal data is offsite, so reformatting it is quick & clean. Not to mention I'm not downloading p0rn programs and crap. There are a few possible evils that I could somehow contract on it, yes... but I'd be able to get rid of them easily, without harm to me.

I pwn windows legitimately, but only because I got a license for $5. Windows is like buying a $200 console system if you ask me.

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (3, Funny)

BlackMesaResearchFac (593320) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479266)

Newegg has copies of XP pro for about $150.00 with the purchase of any hardware, which is a far cry from their $300.00 MSRP.

Or you can use your MSDN OS License from work...:)

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (5, Insightful)

parkrrrr (30782) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479337)

As long as "work" won't mind losing one of their five activations. Unlike previous versions of Windows, the MSDN copies of XP are only valid for a limited number of installs, and you have to use your MSDN account ID to get the serial numbers from MS.

And hey, as long as you're using stuff from work, why not just take your printer home, too? They'll never miss it.

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479390)

Already have. ;)

Installfest for non-gamers (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479269)

Most gamer players will have few options.

However, those that just surf, check e-mail, balance the check book and write letters have no need to toe the line for ol' Chairman Bill.

This is a golden opportunity for LUGs to have installfests for these users. February and March is a good time since most people want indoor activities. At the very least, LUGs can contact the local newspapers and get them to print and article or two about the non-MS options out there.

If an installfest is too extreme, then just consider a showcase where Joe & Jane Sixpack can try out KDE, Gnome, Fluxbox, and so on and see that despite what they've been told, it doesn't bite.

Re:Installfest for non-gamers (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479381)

Great....another reason for you to strap on the Nikes and start brewing the Kool-Aid...

Re:Installfest for non-gamers (0)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479402)

Depends on the games you play......

This is a good time for LUGs to push Transgaming supported games.

Yes, I know Transgaming's Cedega costs money. Much less than the single cost of a single game, though. ($15 minimum cost).

This is a list of confirmed working Windows games:
Note: There are quite a few 'newly released' games on this list, and quite a few MMORPGs (Everquest, Lineage 2, City of Heroes, World of Warcraft). No EQ2, yet, but these other games are more popular anyways :)

Infact, I'm fairly sure this is an old list. More titles are supported now. I just can't find a newer list. Plus there are not so popular titles or older titles that work perfectly, but many of those already work in Wine.

* Age of Wonders II
* Alone in the Dark - The New Nightmare
* American McGee's Alice
* Anachronox
* Anarchy Online
* Aquanox
* Armed & Dangerous
* Babylon 5: I've Found Her
* Baldur's Gate
* Baldur's Gate 2
* Battlefield 1942
* Battlefield Vietnam
* Birth of the Federation
* Black & White
* Blade Runner
* Civilization III
* City of Heroes
* Clive Barker's Undying
* Colin McRae Rally 2.0
* Colin McRae Rally 2004
* Command & Conquer
* Command & Conquer: Generals
* Command & Conquer: Generals Zero Hour
* Command & Conquer: Red Alert
* Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
* Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun
* Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty
* Counter-Strike: Source
* Curse of Monkey Island
* Cyberstorm 2
* Dark Age Of Camelot
* Dark Fall: The Journal
* Darkloader
* Descent 3
* Deus Ex
* Diablo II
* Disciples II Dark Prophecy
* Doom3
* Dragon's Lair 3D
* Duke Nukem Manhattan Project
* Dune 2000
* Dungeon Siege
* Emperor: Rise Of The Middle Kingdom
* Europa Universalis 2
* EverQuest
* Evil Islands
* Fallout
* Fallout 2
* Far Cry
* Football Manager 2005
* Freedom Force
* Freespace: The Great War
* Ghost Recon
* Grand Theft Auto
* Grand Theft Auto - Vice City
* Grand Theft Auto III
* Grim Fandango
* Half Life
* Half Life 2
* Half Life: Blue Shift
* Half Life: Counter Strike
* Half Life: Opposing Force
* Hearts of Iron
* Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2
* Hitman 2 - Silent Assassin
* Homeworld
* Homeworld 2
* Homeworld Cataclysm
* Icewind Dale 2
* Independence War
* Jagged Alliance 2
* Jazz Jack Rabbit 2
* Jedi Knight
* Knights of the Old Republic
* Lineage 2
* Locomotion
* Lords of Magic
* MDK2
* Mafia
* Magic Online
* Max Payne
* Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
* Monopoly Tycoon
* Moonbase Commander
* Need For Speed Underground
* Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit
* No One Lives Forever
* Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
* Outlaws
* PAX Imperia 2 Eminent Domain
* Privateer 2 The Darkening Win95
* Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey
* Quake II
* Red Faction
* Richard Burns Rally
* Sacrifice
* Saga of Ryzom
* Settlers IV
* Sid Meier's Pirates!
* Silent Storm
* Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix
* Star Trek Armada 2
* Star Trek Away Team
* Star Trek Elite Force 2
* Star Trek Voyager Elite Force
* Star Wars Galaxies
* Star Wars Jedi Knight II:Jedi Outcast
* StarCraft
* StarCraft Broodwar
* Starlancer
* Steam
* Stronghold
* SuddenStrike II
* Syberia
* Syberia II
* System Shock 2
* TIE Fighter
* The Elder Scrolls III - Morrowind
* The Typing of the Dead
* Total Annihilation
* Unreal
* Vampire: The Masquerade Redemption
* War Wind
* WarCraft II Battle.net Edition
* Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
* Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
* Warlords Battlecry II
* World of Warcraft
* Wetrix
* X-Wing
* X-Wing vs TIE Fighter
* You Don't Know Jack

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (3, Insightful)

Gillious (723833) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479345)

Or you could go here and get it even cheaper than 150 smackers. (and yes they are legit) http://www.salesintl.com/store.asp

Re:For those who have RTFA issues... (3, Insightful)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479387)

Well, that's all well and good for folks who use WinXP and have $150.00 to spare. How about folks who LIKE using Win2k but have lost their original disk and reinstalled using a friend's key instead of being forced to pay $150-300 for a new copy of software they already owned? Or people who are still using WinME and Win98 who patch what they can from the dribbles off MS table (and they use WinME or Win98 and haven't upgraded because *GASP* those versions of Windows do what they need them to do and they don't want to pay another MS tax to upgrade)? The answer isn't as simple as dish out $150 bucks for XP (or 2k if you can find it) for a new key - there are lots of people who can't afford this (legitimate owner of the software or not).

Now all those people who can't afford, won't buy, and don't have "automatic screwup my computer" turned on on their computers will just ADD to the internet spam and increase the S/N ratio of crap that's already out there. Yeah, that's just frigging great... more zombies, spambots, haxxored boxes, and virus spewing PCs.

Yes.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479179)

...Except in Nebraska.

Pirates (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479184)

MS are biting the hand that feeds them.

What happens... (0)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479186)

What happens when all of those pirate systems get exploited because they can't get their security updates? Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if most of them remain unpatched today.

What about the Microsoft security initiative? Is that being bested by the Microsoft why-aren't-you-getting-the-money initiative?

Re:What happens... (2, Interesting)

confusion (14388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479224)

The pirated versions will still be getting updates if the user of said software has auto-updates turned on. It's only when you manually run windows update that you get denied.

That may change in the future, however.

The reality is that almost no other commercial software vendor will provide you with updates if you aren't current on maintenance, let alone pirated the software in the first place.

Jerry
http://www.syslog.org/ [syslog.org]

Re:What happens... (3, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479331)

The reality is that almost no other commercial software vendor will provide you with updates if you aren't current on maintenance, let alone pirated the software in the first place.

The reality is that Microsoft Windows is installed on 90% of the machines out there. The reality is that regardless of how the software was aquired it is likely to be vunerable to worms, trojans, etc. The reality is that Microsoft is going to continue to look mighty bad when worms and trojans slam 90% of the computers out there.

After a while the "oh, well, the pirates shouldn't have pirated the OS and then they could have gotten our updates that came 6 months after the worm started" gets old and people don't care anymore.

As I have said before this is the situation that they want to occur as it makes all the more sense to place DRM restrictions on their OS and programs that will run on the OS/hardware.

Re:What happens... (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479248)

What happens when all of those pirate systems get exploited because they can't get their security updates?

They obviously end up as virus scan/delivery systems (quality of life on legal boxes goes down), or they end up as DoS boxes that might be leveled at Microsoft.

Either way, good for Linux.


"I'm too cheap to buy it, it won't stay working, what else is out there?"

Re:What happens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479268)

I think you are right. Most cracked windows copies won't be able to get security fixes, and will be infected by more viruses and worms. It will, at one moment or another, have an impact on Microsoft's reputation. If many "zombi" machines happen to attack websites, MS will say "we did not offer security updates for them", and they will either be responsible for not preventing the damage, or lose more users.
If you have a bad MS system, that hasn't changed a lot since 2001, and you don't have anymore security, why would you keep it ? And btw, dropping MS Windows only means dropping all MS products (Microsoft Office & Co). That is really strange, I really wouldn't do that kind of thing...

Code Fork! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479303)

What happens when all of those pirate systems get exploited because they can't get their security updates?

Perhaps the illegit user bsae will fork the Windows code and start releasing competing patches. Of course, this might result in a better, more secure product and start a real code fork with Microsoft's version of the Windows operating system.

Pirated means.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479187)

Do they mean corporate edition? :)

Re:Pirated means.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479316)

How are pirated copies legal? The title and the body of the story say two different things.

Re:Pirated means.... (4, Interesting)

thegoogler (792786) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479332)

No, for corporate edition your not supposed to use winupdate, your supposed to "streamline" the patches into the installer, and install an already service packed and patched system(or reinstall) on all your workstations, which may even be faster then trying to install a patch on a system with weird settings/corrupted files/messed up registry's.

Re:Pirated means.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479360)

streamline -> slipstream

Slipstream since XP SP2 allows you to have a deployable CD to standardize your installation files and process.

Will be easy circumvented... (5, Interesting)

hlygrail (700685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479191)

Folks will just start distributing these patches through other arenas (torrent, newsgroups, web sites, etc.), or will develop methods (as they always have) to work around the system checks.

This is just a ruse to get folks to pay less attention to the fact that the MS OS is generally less secure for most people than it should be...

Re:Will be easy circumvented... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479254)

Simple, really
  1. make an image of your drive
  2. download the patches
  3. make another image,
  4. mount both images
  5. check for diffs
You're all going to have to do this before M$ EOLs XP or U == SOL + PWN3D

How 'bout (2, Funny)

Himring (646324) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479200)

MS To Limit Security Fixes to Legal Copies of Windows

Or, maybe, how 'bout:

MS To Limit Security Holes to Legal Copies of Windows. That would make most people's installs pretty solid....

Awesome (2, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479203)

Really the only thing that would be better is if they could devise a way to make it impossible for people to install their software in a manner that violates the license.

How many more people would start taking a hard look at FOSS if they couldn't get their 'free' MS products?

Re:Awesome (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479275)

How many more people would start taking a hard look at FOSS if they couldn't get their 'free' MS products?

They can still get their "free" MS products. They will continue to get their "free" MS products. Those people will just not update their systems through Windows Update. I imagine that plenty of people that paid for Windows in some form or another still don't bother to update their systems because they don't know or don't care to know.

All this is going to do is create an even more dangerous computing environment on the Internet and give more and more backing to "trusted computing".

Oh look, see, everyone pirates and the pirates are causing all the worms to propagate! Look! DRM will stop that!

Re:Awesome (2, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479311)

Seriously. This is how many family members are.

They ALL pirate Windows. (I'm the only geek in the family, too).

Linux is not acceptible, because: It doesn't look the same, it's not secure, it doesn't have office, it doesn't play games, it can't possibly be secure (cause its free).

Regardless of my counter arguments to ANY of these, they continue using Windows.

Except, now, that I have told them that they will either have to go out and purchase new computers (with new Windows licenses), or purchase Windows licenses (or be pwned by script kiddies), or switch to Linux.

Guess which one they choose?

The Free One. . . . . . .

If you have to evaluate the pro/cons of switching Operating Systems, the price of Linux makes a whole lot of sense. Even if you decide to pay for some additional pieces of useful software, like Codeweaver's Crossover Office, or Transgaming's Wine (Cedega).

Of course, the snobs in the family are considering a move to OS X (probably cause I was showing off my newish 12" powerbook), but thats another story.

Re:Awesome (1)

csguy314 (559705) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479371)

Awesome? I don't think this will actually affect that many people. I hardly know anyone that bothers going to Windows Update site or has their computer set for automatic updates. They also have spyware problems and such, but that's the state of the lay computer user today. The only ones I know that go to Windows Update are the people that already have Linux installed on some partition.

I would be interesting in knowing... (2, Insightful)

gandell (827178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479205)

...exactly how does MS plan to check piracy? What conditions are being checked? What files? In other words, how do they know? (mine's a corporate license that was given to me...hopefully it's not a hack, but who knows)

Re:I would be interesting in knowing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479245)

Ownersship of corporate licenses are non-transferrable, so you're illegal anyway. Buy a copy, it's only $95.

What counts as "pirated"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479206)

Like, if my HPiece-of-shit laptop dies and I "transfer" my XP license to a Dell, does that count as piracy?

Re:What counts as "pirated"? (4, Interesting)

halivar (535827) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479219)

Like, if my HPiece-of-shit laptop dies and I "transfer" my XP license to a Dell, does that count as piracy?

Yes, because now you don't buy software. You lease it. >:(

Re:What counts as "pirated"? (1)

CrackerJack9 (819843) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479334)

but if you built your own computer the old fashion way and the license....you can install it whereever you want :) (if i'm wrong, let me know cuz i did a no-no)

Yup (1)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479232)

Installations are NOT transferrable as a normal course of operations... especially if they're OEM copies. (You can call and specifically ask for a transfer from the MS support desk and they'll usually help you out with that though... once...)

Re:What counts as "pirated"? (1)

seigniory (89942) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479313)

> Like, if my HPiece-of-shit laptop dies and I "transfer" my XP license to a Dell, does that count as piracy?

Yes. The version of XP you buy with a laptop is OEM and MS licensing clearly states that the license cannot be moved to a new PC.

However, I doubt that MS's update site would consider this pirated. It'll be on your Karme, though. :-)

Re:What counts as "pirated"? (4, Insightful)

Twanfox (185252) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479385)

It's funny how Microsoft seems to want people to take them seriously when they talk about pirating their stuff, yet pretty much rip off their customers any time they can. System dies and you want to transfer the license? Sorry! You have to buy it again! Why? You paid for it once, now on a system that will no longer function. Provided that you don't repair the old system and bring it online, what valid reason other than "we want more of your money" do they have for such restrictions? What makes them believe they have the authority to make such restrictions in the first place?

but to circumvent this... (-1, Troll)

niteice (793961) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479209)

use a keygen for installation and use corp. it's unlikely you'll use the same key as somebody else.

It works (2, Insightful)

Momoru (837801) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479212)

MS's new authentication and registration techniques do work on the small scale, your average person who does have the technical know-how to just copy the Win98 cd doesn't usually have the know how to find the crack for systems like WinXP that need to be "activated" i know alot of family/friends who used to just copy software but have bought XP cuz its "pirate proof".

Re:It works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479249)

wow you dont know much do you.

download copy of XP.
download keygen.
generate key.
install.

undetectable copy now on your computer.

let it register and all that jaz, it passes their validation with flying colors.

corp home pro retail... it does not matter.

hell my keygen makes server 2003 and office XP keys!

Re:It works (1)

Momoru (837801) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479314)

Did you miss the part where I said your AVERAGE person wouldn't know how to do that? I know how to do that, but Uncle Ted and whoever else doesn't.

Re:It works (2, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479389)

Regarding buying software only if you can't crack it...you should buy software you use cause it's the right thing to do and all us programmers out there have to eat (or need the ego boost ;).

That said, the "average user" is getting more sophisticated and it's not that uncommon for people to learn how to find and use tools to break these access control schemes (hence the DMCA non-circumvention provisions we all bitch about).

Whatever, mandatory paid software is rapidly becoming an also ran. Software subscriptions will be the next big hacking challenge...

This could be the big push from Win to Linux (5, Insightful)

networkz (27842) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479214)

Many people pirate Windows, for many reasons. Cost, availability, etc.

But imagine now if it's becomes a nuisance to crack everypart of the OS which phones home. People will go elsewhere... legal perhaps.... but what about the people who wont pay.

With Linux now coming of age, it seems about right that a significant market share would now drift in the direction of OpenSource operating systems.

Re:This could be the big push from Win to Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479256)

"With Linux now coming of age, it seems about right that a significant market share would now drift in the direction of OpenSource operating systems."

Not until a significant market share of games can be played on them.

Re:This could be the big push from Win to Linux (4, Insightful)

earthloop (449575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479293)

With Linux now coming of age

I'm am not a M$ advocate at all. I am a heavy Linux user. But the truth is, Linux has been "coming of age" for about 3 bloody years. And in my opinion, it isn't yet ready for the home desktop.

Dunno about you, but I wouldn't like the thought of my mum (mom?) being sat in front of a Linux machine. Until Linux is ready for my mum to use, it's not ready to replace Windows.

Re:This could be the big push from Win to Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479380)

But this wont happen anytime soon, because about 80% of windows users have no clue what linux is! Honestly, when people come to my house, they go "Wow, what version of windows is that?" "what pentium is your computer?".

Coming soon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479220)

In unrelated news, Microsoft decided that Windows will now require all downloads to be digitally signed by "trusted Microsoft partners" leaving out many freeware and open-source developers.

Although in its effort to prove that, once again, this isn't another attempt to stifle competition, MS did say they would allot a small number of such digital certificates for virus-writers and spyware-makers, but would require that such companies submit all malware to Microsoft first, before any other anti-virus companies.

Microsoft's Prerogative, IMHO (5, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479222)

Why should they be expected to support copies of Windows that people didn't pay for? Sure, this is an issue of customer support. But then, the people with 'pirated' copies of Windows aren't Microsoft's customers.

Re:Microsoft's Prerogative, IMHO (3, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479279)

Why should they be expected to support copies of Windows that people didn't pay for?

Because unpatched machines (licensed or not) affect those that do pay Microsoft - their customers. Which is pretty much everyone.

Re:Microsoft's Prerogative, IMHO (1)

Jondaley (194380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479296)

Right. Doesn't really seem like a problem to me. In the other thread about what to do about unpatched pirated systems is an interesting question, but our company has people calling up who bought our software from a vendor who pirated it from us. We have provided support, since we are nice, but I don't think people would really expect us to provide support for software that they didn't buy from us. Granted, they didn't know they were buying pirated software...

Re:Microsoft's Prerogative, IMHO (1)

the_unknown_soldier (675161) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479302)

Because unpatched windows machines are bad for the internet. Viruses spread faster on unpatched machines, it is therefore microsoft's duty to make the internet safer for its paying customers by making sure all windows machines are as safe as they can be. Well.. thats the theory anyway. Security for its paying customers has always come second to profits for Microsoft, so this is no surprise

Re:Microsoft's Prerogative, IMHO (3, Insightful)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479309)

They should do it for the sake of their other customers.

Unlike Microsoft, viruses, spyware, and other forms of malware don't check for Genuine Advantage.

Re:Microsoft's Prerogative, IMHO (2, Interesting)

moderators_are_w*nke (571920) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479343)

Would be a neat idea though. A Windows exploit that only targets people who have legal copies?

How long until it happens?

No doubt Microsoft are currently (secretly) working on the opposite, a BSOD exploit that only targets illegal copies.

Re:Microsoft's Prerogative, IMHO (2, Insightful)

wren337 (182018) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479386)

It's true they aren't customers. I'm curious though how this will fly with the unwashed masses. It's an open secret that people upgrade home computers with shared copies of windows and office. these are people who balk at spending $200 on hardware, I'm not sure they're going to run out and buy windows if they can't get it for free.

So what do they do? Run the OS that came on their dell for a few years longer maybe. maybe you'll see some more linux uptake at the fringes. Apple showed us you can have a unix kernel with a user friendly front end. maybe now microsoft will push all the cheap bastards of the world into taking a hard look at where their money is going. I'm not sure this squeeze is in microsoft's strategic interest, time will tell.

Not good (4, Interesting)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479225)

And what happens if the machine you're legitimately trying to update can't be put on the internet? I remember during the blaster virus, some of our laptops were getting infected so fast, we had to make sure the remote users did NOT get online, and we had to send them the security update and blaster cleaner on disk.

So, under Microsoft's new model, we wouldn't have been able to fix those machines, because as soon as we let them on the internet to "validate" their copy of Windows and download the patch, they would have been reinfected and rebooted. Lame.

How is this any different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479333)

How is this any different then now? So there is a security check, so what? You still can't put an open system on the net just to fix an exploited hole. MSblast would still infect you, security check or not. Give me a real problem or are you just trolling?

But what if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479230)

Isn't their a possiblility of a bug?

What if someone uses Winamp and uninstalled Windows Media?

What if...?

push people off windows (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479239)

it will just push unpaying cutomers off windows, which is not a good idea for MS marketshare which has a direct impact on the numbers of paying customers. This is the sort of thing that kick starts a downward spiral.

Smart move. (4, Insightful)

T-Keith (782767) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479247)

Talk about using your worst problem to your advantage. Now security holes sell windows. It's amazing what a monopoly can do isn't it?

A problem for all Windows users. (3, Insightful)

Janosh (777222) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479252)

If/When windows-update denies pirated versons of windows, people with pirated versons, who can't get security updates can risk having their machines turned into spam zombies.
And then every one on the internet will have a problem when the net is flooded with spam from unpatched zombies.

Or we can hope that people will switch to something some people consider a better OS when they no longer get updates from MS.

Linux Uptake (5, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479253)

Awsome simply awsome the tighter they make their licensing the quicker the uptake for Linux. Hell I don't really know anyone other than some companies that buy legitimate copies of windows. Hopefully they will put a check in Office that will not let you run on a pirated system as well.

Short term revenue gain, long term loss.

Re:Linux Uptake (2, Insightful)

daern (526012) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479306)

Awsome simply awsome the tighter they make their licensing the quicker the uptake for Linux. Hell I don't really know anyone other than some companies that buy legitimate copies of windows. Hopefully they will put a check in Office that will not let you run on a pirated system as well.

Actually, most Windows using corporates have large tie-ins with Microsoft that means they pay less per seat and can manage their licenses with more ease. If you are a large corporation and knowingly running lots of unlicensed seats of any software, you're pretty daft. It's holding your business wide open to litigation and financial loss which most shareholders won't stand for.

Legal copies? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479261)

Woot, so pirates will be the only ones able to get full updates ;P

If it works... (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479263)

This is good. The lack of access might pressure people to do the right thing and switch to Linux ;) (it obviously won't pressure people to buy a legitimate copy of Windows since most of these copies are run by people who can't afford Windows to start with). And it forces Microsoft to (mostly) segregate security fixes from the rest of the crap they have in Windows (except for DRM, of course, no doubt they will include DRM in the security fix category).

Of course, this only applies to the first 3 weeks before the new authentication scheme is hacked. After that, it won't matter.

The end is Nigh! (1)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479271)

Great, that means that more PC's will be less protected.

Now watch as the internet get scummier and slower as all the Fnuts out there that continue to use thier ileagal copies of substandard software and no longer are able to download major patches and updates manually to fix the security issues left by open windows.

Totally bassackwards approach - the infections... (1)

sellers (89043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479367)

This is the WRONG approach. This will cause the infections of the Win32 environments to spread even faster - especially in places where piracy is very high.

Blocking the enhancement updates is one thing - but blocking security updates just hurts the rest of the world - the paying customers - and not the hackers and pirates. As usual - the good people loose with this policy.

The better approach is to make OS's nominal in prices. Apple and Microsoft have the wrong approach - charge $25 for the OS and then you will get people to buy it becuase it's cheap. Most people are honest - and will buy it if reasonably priced.

let me get this straight (1)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479273)

So they aren't gonna allow downloading .exe updaters in case someone has a group of boxes with Windows...?

Re:let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479399)

most all of MS updates are in .msi format and include the licensing testing inside of the .msi package. If you fail to pass the test, the install will cancel.

In other news (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479274)

What M$ don't realise it....

16 new worms spread today causing widespread destruction and loss of data. 3 people were killed when a safety mechanism running embedded windows was shut down.

Microsoft claimed that they were not eligible for security updates because of licensing, the company state that they were licensed, but it was easier to install from other discs.

The company went on further to say that a car which could kill people would be recalled, and the old time engineering firm said they were amazed that software was allowed to be sold without the measures in place to stop things like this continually happening.

A service will be carried out for the 3 victims in their home town on Wednesday.

The worms continue to wreak havoc, and a company has given a 800 number to call to have DVD's sent to you to install linux, which will recover your data, precious photos and music, and allow you to continue.

In light of this event Rockstar games has given a 100% commitment to bring Gran Theft Auto:Disney World to Linux FIRST before any platform.

Apple also announced a special key to enter to remove the DRM restrictions on itunes, as people with dead MS music players bought linux based open players. ... but do people have to die first?

I'm interested (2, Interesting)

JediTrainer (314273) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479284)

... in exactly how many machines we're talking about here. Given that every time I've purchased a machine in the last 5 years I've been force-fed a Windows license, how likely is it for someone to have a pirate copy?

I'm still steaming from all the times I've purchased machines to run Linux, yet been forced to buy the OEM Windows license along with it.

And before anyone mentions building a box yourself, that just causes a hassle when it comes to warranties (I want a name brand machine that I can take back if something breaks in its hardware), and companies that allow you to purchase the machine without an OS are virtually nonexistant in my area.

So given that I've been forced to buy a Windows license with every PC I own (whether I use it or not), I'm not sure how it's possible that there's that many pirate copies out there.

Re:I'm interested (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479382)

BUILD dont buy OEM and you dont hve this problem. Nobody is forcing you to BUY OEM machines. Now grow up you child.

Automatic update (3, Insightful)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479289)

Assuming that MS tinker with automatic Windows update so that it detects illegal installs when a user tries Widnows Update on a pirated copy, I can't see how this system is going to work.

At the moment, any user of Windows (legal or illegal) can MANUALLY find the system administrator patches easily on Microsoft's website.

Unless MS manage to work a pirate copy checking system into each and every one of their system patches, this system will be easily broken. (and even then pirates may distribute cracked patches)

My main beef with MS is that I paid for XP, but reinstalling the system just to fix it means that I have to play their stupid online registration game - which only gives me so many lives before "Game over"

They've been doing this since 2002 in a way (4, Interesting)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479299)

If you install WinXP Volume licenced edition with the famous FCKGW RHQQ2 (Genius!) serial number then install IE critical updates from Windowsupdate, the computer will start crashing on an occasional basis... its been widely rumoured that early on in the XP lifecycle Microsoft issued a patch which has an additional function of degrading the reliability of pirated copies.

This is reproducible with any XP volume licenced CD using that serial so bad media can be ruled out

Re:They've been doing this since 2002 in a way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479394)

Why would they want to do that. It doesn't make any sense? Installing nasty adware and claiming that it came with the illegal version may be an idea though

Their legit-check doesn't work. (3, Insightful)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479319)

Althought I hate to give Microsoft any credit at all, I can't really say that, in theory, Microsoft is out of their right to do this. However, with the new Media Player, I have a real legitimate copy of Windows XP, and it was still unable to verify the authenticity of my software. Being optional, of course, I ignored it, but if that 100% legitimate copy stops working some day because Microsoft can't verify its authenticity, what then? Call Microsoft and tell them? I'm sure I don't have the receipt for a copy that I bought 3 years ago. Is Microsoft going to take my word for it that it's legit? What if it happens on a Sunday night before Christmas? Are they going to have operators standing by to get me working again?

I sure hope they think this policy out before implementing it. As a sysadmin of a small business network, I sure as hell hope that nothing goes wrong with our volume licensed copies.

In the immortal works of Han Solo, "I have a really bad feeling about this..."

Enterprise versions (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479322)

I don't see this solving all their issues, though I understand the move. Many pirated copies likely come from enterprise editions. Corporations are not likely to start using AU for updating systems. I can tell you I'm having to shut it off, often on the same machines, because Sp4 apparently turns it on. Some products have to be tested or blessed before loading a patch from MS. You can easily violate a contract if you don't follow a vendor's recommendation on patching. My point is, it's not a simple as turning on AU on a server and letting MS do it for you.

This won't push people to Linux (4, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479328)

If anything, it might nudge some people to a Mac. Apple has the brand recognition, and you can buy "For Macintosh OS X" software in stores. In other words, they know what they're getting with a Mac.

With Linux, on the other hand, most people wouldn't have any idea whether or not they would be able to use the software they want, let alone how to get it even if it did exist for Linux.

Didn't we do this already (1)

the_vagabond (853480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479341)

As much as I hated it, I gave up the cash for XP. Then we had that stupid registration requirement which was supposed to take care of this "authentic copy" BS. Also, when I had my first major system upgrade changing the motherboard, CPU and video card, I was locked out and had to call their stupid support line in order to re-register with my new configuration. What's next, DNA validation?

Re:Didn't we do this already (1)

koan (80826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479377)

If you paid for it can't you legally use the crack?
Why put up with that crap>?

Sinister Hacker (4, Interesting)

codepunk (167897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479354)

Ok say some sinister hacker knowing that cd keys are
stored in the registry builds a little one liner that inserts a known comprimised key. You know ms is gonna check for this.

The result is a ton of instantly owned machines since they are unable to install security updates.......brilliant plan

That being said I hope they enforce their licensing pirates are slowing the uptake of Linux, it hurts everyone.

m$ ignorance abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479369)

alot of people use cracked M$ windoze, if you really make a system which makes it impossible to patch ur OS, so those people will feel very vulnerable (u allready should), i don't see those same kids buy their OS all of a sudden, maybe they all should massively change to an OS that doesn't charge money for patches or for the OS itself, this way M$ keeps the market for ignorant computer users: people who pay money for software, and the rest just moves to the future: free information, free software..

Because honestly, the only piece of software i'm currently missing is an opensource version of Maya or 3ds max, every single piece of software which requires money is being replaced by opensource software here... except really good games perhaps, but they do exist (just not so good :D)

example : photoshop gimp

would you pay a couple 100's for somethign that is free and equally good (if not better, since a whole community is aiding with debugging and giving useful comments)?

i hope many do think like this, but i'm afraid i'm too optimistic with alot of ignorant users,

ignorance is the exploit maliciously abused by m$ in lusers

Way to go ! (1, Troll)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479373)

Now we can be sure that viruses and spyware remain a pest for the remainder of the Windows-era.

In any case, this will quicken the demise of Windows, rather than strengthen it :)

Bad For Security (5, Insightful)

iammrjvo (597745) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479375)


I remember reading a Crypto-Gram article on this a while back. Here's some great, relevant commentary from Schneier. The original link is http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0406.html#4 [schneier.com].

The security of your computer and your network depends on two things: what you do to secure your computer and network, and what everyone else does to secure their computers and networks. It's not enough for you to maintain a secure network. If everybody else doesn't maintain their security, we're all more vulnerable to attack. When there are lots of insecure computers connected to the Internet, worms spread faster and more extensively, distributed denial-of-service attacks are easier to launch, and spammers have more platforms from which to send e-mail. The more insecure the average computer on the Internet is, the more insecure your computer is.

It's like malaria: everyone is safer when we all work together to drain the swamps and increase the level of hygiene in our community.

This is the backdrop from which to understand Microsoft's Windows XP security upgrade: Service Pack 2. SP2 is a major security upgrade. It includes features like Windows Firewall, an enhanced personal firewall that is turned on by default, and a better automatic patching feature. It includes a bunch of small security improvements. It makes Windows XP more secure.

In early May, stories were written saying that Microsoft would make this upgrade available to all XP users, both licensed and unlicensed. To me, this was a very smart move on Microsoft's part. Think about all the ways it benefits Microsoft. One, its licensed users are more secure. Two, its licensed users are happier. Three, worms that attack Microsoft products are less virulent, which means Microsoft doesn't look as bad in the press. Microsoft wins, Microsoft's customers win, the Internet wins. It's the kind of marketing move that businessmen write best-selling books about.

Sadly, the press was wrong. Soon after, Microsoft said the initial comments were wrong, and that SP2 would not run on pirated copies of XP. Those copies would not be upgradeable, and would remain insecure. Only legal copies of the software could be secured.

This is the wrong decision, for all the same reasons that the opposite decision was the correct one.

Of course, Microsoft is within its rights to deny service to those who have pirated its products. It makes sense for them to make sure performance or feature upgrades do not run on pirated software. They want to deny people who haven't paid for Microsoft products the benefit of them, and entice them to become licensed users. But security upgrades are different. Microsoft is harming its licensed users by denying security to its unlicensed users.

This decision, more than anything else Microsoft has said or done in the last few years, proves to me that security is not the first priority of the company. Here was a chance to do the right thing: to put security ahead of profits. Here was a chance to look good in the press, and improve security for all their users worldwide. Microsoft claims that improving security is the most important thing, but their actions prove otherwise.

SP2 is an important security upgrade to Windows XP, and I hope it is widely installed among licensed XP users. I also hope it is quickly pirated, so unlicensed XP users can also install it. In order for me to remain secure on the Internet, I need everyone to become more secure. And the more people who install SP2, the more we all benefit.

As a legal owner of a copy of WinXP (1, Flamebait)

agraupe (769778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479376)

I say it's good. You get what you pay for, and if you don't like paying for things, there is an alternative called Linux :) But, seriously, MS should look into making a reduced "Gamers" edition of Windows.

A tactic tried by only those who can... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11479391)

User: *Tries to download security patch with pirated copy of Windows.*

Microsoft: *Passes Go, Collects $200....*

OK - That Does It... (1)

AtomicSnarl (549626) | more than 9 years ago | (#11479396)

Somebody, please please PLEEZ figure out a simple (one click?) install and update process for *Nix instead of having to slog through multiple tarballs and such? At least the Knoppix Hacks [slashdot.org] disk has a clear set of instructions in the associated book, and for dual boot too.

As much as I want to use *Nix, I'm still tied to my swarm of M$/Wintel packages and hardware -- Thank You Wine! At this rate, I'll be jumping ship to a Mac Mini [slashdot.org] any day now just to get spun up. Already have a KVM switch for three boxen -- just as easy to mount a fourth...
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