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Microsoft Talks Daily With Your Computer

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the what-could-go-wrong dept.

686

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft Corp. acknowledged Wednesday that it needs to better inform users that its tool for determining whether a computer is running a pirated copy of Windows also quietly checks in daily with the software maker. The company said the undisclosed daily check is a safety measure designed to allow the tool, called Windows Genuine Advantage, to quickly shut down in case of a malfunction." The EULA is suppose to disclose this daily call-in feature. Lauren Weinstein, who is co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility, was one of the first people to notice the daily communications to Microsoft. Report from Yahoo.com"

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Minor edit (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491590)

The EULA is suppose to

That should be 'supposed'. What happened to the 'd'?

disclosed this

Oh, there it is.

What kind of bullshit excuse is this? (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491593)

... quickly shut down in case of a malfunction.

So Genuine Advantage needs to contact the mothership in order to be told that it's broken and needs to terminate?

Please.

Re:What kind of bullshit excuse is this? (1)

cytoman (792326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491609)

What is the process called? I'd like to block it with my Sygate Personal Firewall.

Re:What kind of bullshit excuse is this? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491636)

I haven't had it happen, but maybe this [vnunet.com] is what you're looking for?

Re:What kind of bullshit excuse is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491761)

"like to block it with my Sygate Personal Firewall."

What if it is talking TCP through port 80?

Re:What kind of bullshit excuse is this? (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491811)

Just wondering the same thing. Why doesent Zone alarm flag this?

Old News (2, Informative)

smvp6459 (896580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491663)

Anyone with a non-MS software firewall will see this POS phoning home all the time.

Re:Old News (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491719)

WTF? This isn't old news. Every time I have downloaded this to do installations on the computers we setup at work it says very clearly it performs a "one time check". When did "one time check" become every day? Microsoft is fucking scum.

Re:What kind of bullshit excuse is this? (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491684)

The "say anything you want in a press release and 99% of the population is too stupid it know the difference" kind.

definition of a malfunction... (1)

rmallico (831443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491725)

any file that ends with .exe

Whoa! (5, Insightful)

rahrens (939941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491594)

Just one more reason NOT to use Windows as my operating system!

I'm protected. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491598)

*wraps computer in tin foil and duct tape*

BRING IT ON!!!

Surprise ??? (0, Troll)

munwin99 (667576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491599)

Does this really come as a surprise ??? Happily using Ubuntu for 6 months.

XP Phone Home! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491601)

XP Phone Home!

Ethereal anyone? (4, Interesting)

caryw (131578) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491602)

Anyone sniff out the offending packets yet? I'm sure they can't be too hard to identify. Probably simple HTTP posts.

If nobody has I'll sniff anything going to Microsoft's Class B (207.46.*.*) later tonight.
--
From Northern Virginia? Visit Fairfax Underground [fairfaxunderground.com] ! (Just added: Fairfax County wiki, need submissions)

Re:Ethereal anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491709)

If you do ethereal it, please post what you find.

Thanks :)

Re:Ethereal anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491733)

I'm from Northern Virginia. Fortunately, I moved.

Apple has a Class A... (1)

Dis*abstraction (967890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491767)

...how does Microsoft only have a Class B? Could it be, as with everything else, that Apple beat them to the party?

There's no such thing as fashionably late in technology. This only proves the obvious: Microsoft is hopelessly square.

Re:Ethereal anyone? (5, Informative)

Crazyscottie (947072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491822)

Or better yet, you can just prevent those packets from ever reaching their destination.

The DOS command route -p add 207.46.0.0 mask 255.255.0.0 [192.168.0.254] (replace the address in brackets with a random address on your current subnet) will permanently route all would-be "phone home" packets to the random address that you specified.
 
... You could also, of course, use a firewall, but where's the fun in that? ;-)

Is this somehow tied in with the NSA? (1)

Nybble's Byte (321886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491605)

I'm sure it's all for our benefit ;-)

Can't resist (1)

Aokubidaikon (942336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491607)

WGA phone home!

Ooops! (5, Funny)

kozumik (946298) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491612)

I guess they forgot to disclose that in the EULA. Honest mistake, stuff happens. Now let's go back to not worrying about DRM or Net Neutrality because Big Bussiness is looking out for our best interests.

This happened to my moms computer yesterday (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491613)

My moms computer which was bought from Best Buy and NEVER had windows re-installed on it was determined by Microsoft to be "not genuine". What fucking bullshit, I never was a Microsoft hater before that even though I used OS X, but calling my mom a criminal even though she isnt is just plain fucking bullshit. Microsoft, you made me a hater, though out of principle I refuse to use "M$"

Re:This happened to my moms computer yesterday (-1, Troll)

cheaphomemadeacid (881971) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491653)

Wow really, you don't like microsoft? You must be like... one sovjet russia away from the Oh-So-Mighty moderators group...

oh and don't forget to hate puppets! Especially those with those big cute monkey ears :)

Re:This happened to my moms computer yesterday (5, Informative)

oscartheduck (866357) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491654)

Just be aware that there's a piece of malware going around that performs this function also. It looks like a microsoft box, comes up before you sign in and claims that your copy of windows is not genuine.

Re:This happened to my moms computer yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491666)

I, too, have found that swearing makes people more apt to see my point of view.
Bravo!

Re:This happened to my moms computer yesterday (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491691)

Microsoft isn't using Genuine Advantage to call your mother nasty names. The theory behind it is that it will notify innocent users that the OS is pirated, and they can squeal on the person or business that sold it.

Re:This happened to my moms computer yesterday (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491804)

Yes, Microsoft is using GA to call his mother nasty names. They decided it was worth the pain to innocent users.

Re:This happened to my moms computer yesterday (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491781)

This happened to my Uncle's computer yesterday - Uncle Sam that is. The WinBlows PC that is my email machine popped up the "This copy of Windows is not genuine" tag yesterday. This is on a major DoD site that has Everything legit, monitored, and locked up. It locked the system down so that I could not access the system with either the CAC card/PIN method nor the username/password means.

It took the (very good) IT guy an hour today to unscrew the system.

Thank God my scientific box is OSX!

What's up with the intercapping? (0, Offtopic)

roger_ford (65174) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491616)

So what's up with the gratuitous intercapping of Microsoft in the story title? The summary doesn't use that, and Microsoft hasn't used that name for decades. Is it just a subtle way to mock Microsoft, or what?

In any event, it's unprofessional for a tech site that aims to be taken seriously. (Not that that's new at Slashdot.)

Re:What's up with the intercapping? (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491640)


Being Slashdot, you have to praise the editors for what they didn't do. In this case they didn't write it as Micro$oft, MicroShaft or MicroShit.

Good job, boys! Have a cookie!

Re:What's up with the intercapping? (2, Funny)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491699)

What the??? You are upset because some corporations name was intercapped? Are you going to go into apoplexy every time somebody intercaps some corporations name?

What kind of an insane person cares about that?

Re:What's up with the intercapping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491710)

The story screams murder about software snitching on you, and you whine about "intercapping"?! Fucking moron.

Re:What's up with the intercapping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491820)

Intercapping? You mean camel case, n00b.

Defend This (0, Offtopic)

duckbillplatypus (596100) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491620)

OK Windows-Loving, Apple/Linux-Hating, Users Defend This. Wow, I cannot wait to see what sort of secret communicating Vista does. I guess we will have to wait to find out that Vista ties in directly with the NSA?

Re:Defend This (0)

Ceirren (849938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491754)

Alright, easy. How do you think most users got that update in the first place?
OH NO THE COMPUTER COMMUNICATED WITH MICROSOFT.

Please, enough of this bullshit. I know that /. is Pro Linux and Anti Windows, but when it bleeds into the actual news posts, this really makes me question the validity of this as a news site.

Come on! This is /.! Not Fox News!

Point already made (1)

Nybble's Byte (321886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491790)

See my post above [slashdot.org] .

Thank God! (0, Offtopic)

trolleymusic (938183) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491623)

I got really worried for a minute, but then remembered that the sole windows pc here in my office is actually a purchased version! Who would've thought it, eh?

Re:Thank God! (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491664)

the point is that it should not be doing this in the first place.

Re:Thank God! (2, Interesting)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491770)

The last copy of Windows that I owned was "genuine", as well. I still dropped them once they started trying to push DRM and activation on me with XP.

Yawn (2, Insightful)

RickPartin (892479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491629)

The article is a bunch of fluff. Here is the boiled down version.

1. The Microsoft Genuine Advantage tool is installed on many computers now and checks to see if your copy of Windows is legit.

2. Microsoft wants a safety switch in case this tool starts causing PCs around the world to explode. Thus the program checks with Microsoft once a day to see if it should shut itself off.

Microsoft is not spying on you. This is a safety feature that I'm glad is included. Did you know your computer also checks with them daily to update your time with the atomic clock? Where's the Slashdot story for that?

Re:Yawn (5, Insightful)

sweetooth (21075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491652)

A safety feature that it doesn't need. Genuine Advantage only needs to be checked once. Upon verifying your Windows install it should never communicate with Microsoft unless specifically asked to do so. Doing anything else is highly suspicious and bad form. Failing to put this communication information in the EULA is also bad, but is likely an oversight on someones part so can probably be forgiven, we all make mistakes.

Re:Yawn (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491680)

What if it decides to shut your windows down because it's not genuine?

Re:Yawn (5, Insightful)

collectivescott (885118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491687)

Regarding point 1: My copy of windows checks time.nist.gov, not microsoft. In addition, however, I was asked before this function was enabled, and I can disable it at will.

Regarding point 2: Where is the safety switch for internet explorer? I'm sure IE causes way more "computer explosions" than genuine advantage.

Let's be honest here. A phone-home capability in genuine advantage is suspicious, given the function of the genuine advantage program. It makes people running pirated versions of windows especially nervous. The bottom line is, if it isn't a spy tool, there ought to be an option to disable it. If it is a spy tool, get it the fuck off my computer. Period.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491771)

It makes people running pirated versions of windows especially nervous.
Er, yes...

Re:Yawn (4, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491782)

It makes people running pirated versions of windows especially nervous.

Boo hoo.. poor people running pirated copies.

If they're too stupid/lazy/cocky to keep themselves isolated by a good firewall, then I have no sympathy.

There are plenty of valid reasons why this "feature," or at least the lack of disclosure, is immoral. Protecting piracy is not one of them.

Re:Yawn (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491724)

(Too lazy to log on)

OK, so we have a little script that checks license/machine info to make sure you aren't using a pirated Windows. A very very dangerous script that might cause your pc to explode. Better keep tabs on it every day, and make sure you can remotely kill it if you discover later it has a flaw...

Good thing Office, IE, WMP, the kernel, etc, are so safe and stable - otherwise we'd have to have those check in, too, in case we found something wrong. All that work, writing code to have it check in, making sure it can respond to our kill signal if anything happens, checking every single day for possible flaws - we'd go bankrupt trying to watch everything on the computer, but thankfully we only install one thing so dangerous and so vital.

Re:Yawn (2, Interesting)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491726)

Microsoft wants a safety switch in case this tool starts causing PCs around the world to explode. Thus the program checks with Microsoft once a day to see if it should shut itself off.

Good, I've been building our 2006-07 academic year image on XP and this tool has twice kicked-in and called my legit-via-volume-key XP image a fraud. I eventually figured out that I had to be less millitant about deleting miscellaneous files before syspreping the beast, but I can certainly see some malware out there deliberately hooking into this tool to exploit people.

Dude, it's a problem "solving" a problem. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491742)

If they truly wanted your system to be safe (and "explosion"-free), they wouldn't install the Genuine Advantage tool in the first place.

It is appropriate for an NTP service to update a system's time once a day. It's a legitimate function, providing a useful service to the computer's owner/user. It can also be easily disabled, in most cases, if the owner/user does not wish for such capabilities. In most cases, the user would have actively had to install it in the first place, or at least consent to its use (ie. during a Linux installation).

This Windows "feature" reportedly cannot be easily disabled nor removed. Not only that, but it doesn't provide a useful feature to the computer user. And that's ignoring the security issues involving it.

If Microsoft has to include such functionality to prevent failure of a piece of its software, it should just remove the vulnerable software in the first place. That's the only sensible thing to do.

Re:Yawn (1)

br0k_sams0n (848842) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491763)

They can't even get the atomic clock right. The OS sets your hardware clock adjusted with the local time zone offset pretty much borking anything else that needs to reference it and bucking the trend of every other hardware vendor and every other OS known to man. No other OS on the planet is so bold to assume it's the only thing running on the hardware and that it should do whatever it wants with the hardware. Drone on, nothing to see here.

Re:Yawn (3, Insightful)

tacocat (527354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491785)

Well, for one. How does legal software become illegal? You only need to check once.

This is a simple enough program that there shouldn't ever be a need for a safety switch, and since it only runs the one time, there's no need for it.

And Microsoft has established a history of doing this kind of crap in the past. Is there any reason why anyone should expect them to behave differently today? Seriously. Is there anything which Microsoft has experienced which might give them pause to consider this behaviour as potentially improper?

Re:Yawn (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491791)

Microsoft is not spying on you. This is a safety feature that I'm glad is included. Did you know your computer also checks with them daily to update your time with the atomic clock? Where's the Slashdot story for that?


Windows' default settings syncs time with a time server to keep my local clock up to date. I can see why I would want that. Now... what's the advantage in "Genuine Advantage"?

Talks daily to whose computer? (5, Funny)

Entropy (6967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491630)

TFA says "your computer", but aren't all Windows installs "my computer" on the desktop? Shouldn't it say "your my computer"? Or is it "my your computer"?

Ah screw it! And screw Microsoft, too.

Re:Talks daily to whose computer? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491714)

When you're running Windows, only half the computer belongs to you.

Re:Talks daily to whose computer? (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491718)

aren't all Windows installs "my computer" on the desktop?

Not mine. I renamed the icon to be "this".

OMG! Everyday?! (5, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491635)

I knew my PC was cheating on me after I got a Mac. But Microsoft...

YOUR computer? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491637)

"MicroSoft Talks Daily With Your Computer"
This implies that we all have either pirate copies of Windows, or have Windows at all. And a 'net connection. ;-)

Re:YOUR computer? (2, Insightful)

collectivescott (885118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491701)

Uh, if you're reading this, I'm willing to bet you have a 'net connection...

at least they don't steal user files (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491638)

Google Desktop Search uploads files from the user computer to Google servers

WgaTray.exe (4, Informative)

Zaffo (755234) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491648)

Just the other night my copy of ZoneAlarm was alerting me that this exe was trying to make a shout-out to the Internet. A little searching told me what this was, so I set it to permanently deny the request. Problem solved!

Re:WgaTray.exe (2, Insightful)

ezratrumpet (937206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491670)

What frightens me more than Microsoft's program calling the mother ship is that so many people didn't have a firewall that notified them that a new program was sending out information.

surprised? (0, Redundant)

SekShunAte (978632) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491657)

This doesn't surprise anyone does it?

Ok so now what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491660)

So, can anyone suggest how to go about uninstalling this without wiping the hard drive and starting over?

Nice Title... (2, Funny)

imboboage0 (876812) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491669)

MicroSoft

So why are we talking about their 'tools?'

This is why I've been staying off WindowsUpdate - (4, Informative)

timecop (16217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491673)

I heard horror stories of people with 'acquired' versions of Windows XP who went to the 'new' 'Windows Update' service and ended up with an annoying tray icon constantly reminding them that their version of XP is pirated.

But you know, I havent been to WindowsUpdate in over a year.
I use a great (and free) tool provided by microsoft themselves - called "MBSA" (Microsoft Base Security Analyzer [microsoft.com] ) to download and install updates.

With MBSA, I can do a quick install of Windows XP with SP2 integrated in vmware, then run this tool, and find out that (as of yesterday) there are 39 hotfixes needed for vanilla XPSP2 install, and it gives me direct (no WGA crap) links to download these updates. All I have to do then is save them all one by one, integrate them into a XP SP2 iso image, and use this pre-integrated disk to install with.

Since i reinstall windows every few months this is not a problem, and for those who insist on keeping windows machine installed longer, they can simply use MBSA to download incremental updates and install them manually.

...the hell? (5, Funny)

AWhiteFlame (928642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491678)

Here at Microsoft, we care about the Customer Experience. As a result, we've taken the following measures to make sure your experience is as pleasant and beneficial to you as possible.

- Our new operating system, Windows Vista, requires only the best high-end hardware so that, even on a system well beyond the power you should ever need, you'll still get the true Windows Experience(TM)

- The new Windows Media Player 11 features all-new and exclusive DRM, or Degradation Resistment Technology by Microsoft, which not only provides wonderful sound in the new and improved WMA format, but protects your rights as well.

- Our operating systems now report back with system information and other information which we feel should be collected from your system at any given time to improve your computing experience.

Microsoft: Where do we want to take you today?

Re:...the hell? (2, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491818)

>> Microsoft: Where do we want to take you today?

In the ass, evidently.

The EULA isn't 'supposed to disclose this'. Silly. (1)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491679)

Silly tinfoil hat wearer!

So what? (0, Troll)

rlbs56 (980751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491685)

So what's the big deal? The only reason to care is if you've stolen from them. I guess I'm too much a libertarian. I think someone has a right to try to keep people from stealing from them. So sue me.

Microsoft doesn't talk to my computer. (2, Interesting)

Khaed (544779) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491686)

I don't have Windows. So Microsoft doesn't talk to my computer. Wouldn't a more accurate title be "Microsoft talks daily to Windows"?

Considering how often Windows is pirated, I can't say this surprises me. Their excuse is stupid. They should just say "Look, we know people pirate. So we're going to check. If you don't like it, tough." Don't hide it. I'm not saying they're right or wrong to do this -- just that they should be up front about it if they are going to.

It won't make a dent in their sales. Whether or not you hate Microsoft, love Linux/Apple, or cling to OS/2 -- Microsoft is currently the top dog. Right or wrong; I'm not taking a stance on that, here. It's going to take a lot more than this to hurt Microsoft's bottom line.

So, you know, just tell us what information you're going to collect.

Somewhere in the distance... (1)

RoffleTheWaffle (916980) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491688)

... The sound of massive floodgates opening can be heard.

Cue gigantic flood of contentless anti-Microsoft pro-Linux posts in three, two, one...

Seriously though, this is bullshit. I mean, I think a software maker should be able to defend their work from piracy, but this is kind of ridiculous. You'd think that if you buy the fucking software with your own money, you wouldn't have to call home - whether you like it or not - to continue using it, but apparently we don't actually own property these days when it comes to software. (As if that's something new.) No, we're just leasing it from the vendor for a one-time payment - for now, anyway - and when it comes to piracy, everybody's a suspect. That really makes me smile. It makes me smile in that crazyass B-movie axe murderer kind of way, you know, before the stupid co-star gets what they have coming so we can forget they ever existed in the first place.

I have a idea. (3, Insightful)

Avillia (871800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491690)

Redirect 207.46.*.* to 255.255.255.255. Only stop doing this when you feel the need to update. Disable automatic updates and all other update services except when you want to update. Problem solved. Really, if people just took the stance of "Why does this thing need to communicate to another computer?" instead of "Why shouldn't I allow this thing to talk to another computer?", 99% of security issues would be complete bork. But, of course, that requires common sense.

Re:I have a idea. (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491775)

that'll only work if the genuine advantage tool won't shut down if it doesn't hear from MS.

Re:I have a idea. (2, Informative)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491813)

Redirect 207.46.*.* to 255.255.255.255.

Why the broadcast address?

I'm risking my positive karma by saying this but (2, Funny)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491697)

Its like Microsoft is now the Sony of the software industry!

Actually, your risking your negative karma. (1)

Avillia (871800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491706)

You think you'll get modded down for Microsoft bashing? It's like hating Communists during the McCarthy era, you can't go wrong! =P

thank you for the words of wisdom (1)

RelliK (4466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491736)

Its like Microsoft is now the Sony of the software industry!

And who is the Microsoft of the software industry?

Huh. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491700)


Lazar said that so far, about 60 percent of users who were offered the piracy check decided to install it.



Really? Decided seems to imply some sort of informed consent. From what I've read about this thing, there are a number of people who are surprised to have this on their system and have received it as part of their automatic updates without actually being aware of it. I certainly wouldn't opt to download something like this.

I was asked and declined (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491768)

On my token PC (the important stuff is all on MacOS X), I got the "we have updates for you today" notification. Since I -never- fully trust any update (even those from Apple), I checked "manual/custom install" (I forget exactly what it was called, the -opposite- of fully automatic). Right there, I saw the Pilot Windows Genuine Advantage (tm, I'm sure!) program being offered for installation, and declined. (I've heard too many horror stories about Microsoft deciding you're not running 'real Windows' and shutting the computer down, including those included in this thread.)

To anyone who wonders how this stuff got on their machine, I say "Next time, check to see what's being installed." And to those who saw this and granted permission for it to be installed, "What did you think this was going to do? Physically search your CD drawer for the install CD package?"

And to Microsoft I wonder, "OK what -is- the advantage of 'Genuine Windows'? Does it lesson my likelihood of bugs or of security holes?" But I will say that the one time I needed to talk to Microsoft about a CD read error, I did get through to a human (in Canada, eh?) and he sent me a new CD. So I will certainly admit that's an advantage of having a valid serial number for Windows that is not registered elsewhere. But I didn't need no stinkin' spyware to get THAT advantage.

          dave

Windows is now shutting down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491717)

WARNING: Windows will be shutting down in 10 seconds...

WORD: Are you sure you would like to close without saving untitled.doc...

Windows is now shutting...

NOOO!!!

Understandable Need, Awful Implementation (2, Interesting)

endersshadow7 (972296) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491720)

Microsoft should stick with the WGA to be validated only during updates. Otherwise, if someone hacks it and rerouts that message, they can grab all sorts of good authentication information that can be used to further more piracy. It seems to me that WGA is a very needed tool for Microsoft (given the amount of piracy outside the US), but they implemented it very poorly.

Validation should occur on an as-needed and secure basis _only_, and not however often Microsoft would like. It's practices like these today that leave bigger security holes for tomorrow.

Logging net access?? (1)

martyb (196687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491723)

There are times when, after the fact, I want to find out what communications with the internet took place around a certain time. Like when I get called in to remove malware from a friend's PC. I can tell from the install date/time on the malware's directory, etc. when it came in. I'd like to be able to work from that to find out what was going on around that time to see what got it started.

Is there a program that logs all accesses to the internet FROM MY PC? A web server typically logs all requests that come into it. I'm looking for something that provides a similar log for my PC.

  • - Date and Time (e.g. 20060607_212955)
  • - DNS Name (e.g. slashdot.org)
  • - IP Addr (e.g. [66.35.250.150])
  • - Port (e.g. 80)
  • - Status Code (e.g. 200, 404, ?????)
  • - Application path (e.g. "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe")
  • - etc.

The reason for the DNS Name and IP Address is that I have a slew of entries in my HOSTS file to redirect "Bad" sites to home. See: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.zip [mvps.org] . This log would allow me to track when attempts to these blocked addresses were attempted. A log with a gazillion 127.0.0.1 entries isn't much help; logging the domain name that got looked up and which resulted in the 127.0.0.1 would be much more help.

I suppose I could launch Ethereal Network Protocol Analyzer [ethereal.com] but it seems to put quite a load onto my system and I am concerned the overhead may cause it to drop packets. Maybe I'm not configuring it right (any suggestions for a lightweight install?). Or, is there a smaller, less resource-intensive application which can do this for me?

If such a simple thing existed, and were widely implemented, I suspect applications phoning home would be detected much sooner.

Re:Logging net access?? (1)

Cheeze (12756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491744)

you might be able to get zonealarm to do that, but i would NOT trust anything but open source. Any commercial product probably wouldn't log their own phone homes.

You could make a linux box act as your firewall and run snort or a packet logger on it. That's a lot of trouble though.

Re:Logging net access?? (1)

thetoastman (747937) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491824)

Many routers (Linksys, D-Link, etc.) have a monitoring program built in that can be configured to send SNMP traps for every new connection. Then just look at the logs. These same routers come with SNMP trap receiver programs, or you can roll your own with Perl, C#.NET, Ruby, Python, etc., etc.

I guess it's time to check my logs a bit more carefully when I'm on the Windows side of this machine.

Yes, my copy of Windows is legitimate. I still don't like the phone home aspect.

Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall noticed this too.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491757)

My Kerio firewall noticed WGA's attempts to phone home as soon as it was installed. Clickity-click, WGA can no longer talk to Microsoft. I like my firewall...

Meh (1)

Bryant68 (978283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491759)

None of this matters to me, I'm still going to use Windows.

Let it get quietly blocked by my firewall... (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491760)

Has anyone get the info on which port it uses or hosts it contacts? I'm thinking that it might be time to update my outgoing NAT firewall rules...

Weak excuse (1)

k1mgy (980756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491786)

The "discovery" sounds more like a weak excuse for outright spying. So what happens to the user who - shock - doesn't connect their fine Microshlock product to the public internet? Does the fine Microshlock operating system stop operating? Must one call in every week for permission to continue (trying) to use this fine operating system? I don't buy the story and wish I could give windows the deep six it deserves.

Except if... (2)

Parallax Blue (836836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491793)

... you never installed the update in the first place. Mwahahaha! For once, a bad habit of not installing updates right away pays off.

Daily conversation transcript intercepted (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491794)

Your Computer: Hey Sweetie!
M$: Hi Schnookums!
Your Computer: Just checking in
M$: I love you honey
Your Computer: Bye Bye Baby
M$: Sweet Dreams
Your Computer: No you hangup
M$: No no you hangup

i ve never used this ...microsoft or apple s (2, Insightful)

observer7 (753034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491797)

i used uinux in the older days , switched to Linux 10 years ago and now use ubuntu . never had any problems with "are you legit ? or are you stealing from us ? i would never want a company to treat me like i was a illegal alien . one like that doesnt get my money

What else does it do? (1)

LSanchez (928788) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491798)

What I want to know, what else does it do? If it can shut down a program, can shut down other programs? Will this also secretly enforce music DRM, or other such things? What else is it sharing with the mothership, other than this "Genuine Advantage"?

Your a thief, not a customer (1)

NullProg (70833) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491799)

You stopped being a customer of Microsoft once they decided to enable GenuineCheck.exe for all downloads. Your a thief, even if you own a legit Windows licence( I own +8). If that doesn't insult you then you must be braindead. Name one retailer that comes into your home looking for stolen goods?

Switch, or continue being called a theif by Microsoft.

Enjoy,

Actually... (1)

BkBen7 (926853) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491800)

I doubt Microsoft can understand the languages Debian Linux Speaks.

This has to be said. (1)

Maxhrk (680390) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491805)

I have good news for you, I just saved 100% by switched to Unbuntu!

HAHAHAHAHA.

"forward" (1)

This is outrageous! (745631) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491806)

From TFA,
"We're looking at ways to communicate that in a more forward manner," he said.
The word sounds eerily out of place, as if he wants to say "up-front" but just can't bring himself to it.
Or did he really mean...
forwardness [yourdictionary.com]
noun
The state or quality of being impudent or arrogantly self-confident:
assumption, audaciousness, audacity, boldness, brashness, brazenness, cheek, cheekiness, chutzpah, discourtesy, disrespect, effrontery, face, familiarity, gall1, impertinence, impudence, impudency, incivility, insolence, nerve, nerviness, overconfidence, pertness, presumptuousness, pushiness, rudeness, sassiness, sauciness.
Informal brass, crust, sauce, uppishness, uppityness.
See attitude [yourdictionary.com] , courtesy [yourdictionary.com] .

Learn how to ghost... (4, Informative)

dognuts (699368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491807)

That's why Ghost is such an important tool! 1/Create Ghost image of your OS 2/Go to MS let them install what they want 3/Check for updates & write down KB# but don't install anything 4/Download the KB's you need to your HD 5/Restore the image you made & install the updates you downloaded. Now you have your updates without any MS garbage on your PC. In case you didn't notice media player has been calling home for years & that doesn't seem to bother anyone!

When you are not using your PC every day (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491810)

I use my laptop about once per month (I use it almost exclusively for travel) and boy, Windows builds quite a backlog. The most annoyng part is when it does its updates even though I click the CANCEL button. Did anyone ever see the "reboot now" window pop up in the middle of your presentation ? It's on a par with Clippy.

sigh (1)

agentdunken (912306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491814)

Software companies should understand the more the price tag the more the pirating. The more anti pirating software the more crackers there be to take the challenge of pirating your software. The more the rights taken away the more of rebellion will happen. Theres more pirating today with software with tha anti pirating software on them than there was 5 years ago with out the anti pirating software. Most of the software targeted for pirating is the software that cost more than $50 for. By saying this if Microsoft really wants to stop the pirating of its OS then for one they should stop charging over $200 for it. I mean who in the right mind would pay $200+ for a OS thats virus, spyware, adware infected? Not only that who would PAY $200+ for software?? Honestly a good price for Windows would be around $50-100. Then stop it with its "anti pirating software" bullshit. The more anti pirating software a software company puts in it the more of a chance it will be pirated for the main fact its a challenge for crackers. Its asking for them to come crack it. But back on subject.. This does not surprise me at all. Microsoft most likely as more things hidden inside the computer that reports back to Microsoft. Glad i'm a Linux/Mac user.

So that explains it (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491821)

I saw some unusual entries in an Ethereal log one time. It didn't raise any big flags at the time because Windows talks to Castle Redmondore a lot, I thought it was normal. Never bothered to find out exactly what was going on because I don't use Windows any more than necessary.

One more reason not to I guess. Like I needed one.

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