Microsoft Antipiracy Software Targets Chinese Users
Article by George Norman
On 22 Oct 2008
Just yesterday, the 21st of October 2008, during Microsoft’s Global Anti-Piracy Day, Bonnie MacNaughton, senior attorney with Microsoft, announced that the renowned software manufacturer considers software piracy a major concern and that it will take measure to combat it. No time was wasted and just such a tool was released in China, leaving countless with limited usability of their machines.

Chinese users that had the “Automatic Updates” feature turned on found that during the most recent update they also downloaded the “Windows Genuine Advantage” and “Office Genuine Advantage” tool. This is not exactly news for us in the western world – over here the Redmond software manufacturer has been serving up WGA (short for Windows Genuine Advantage) for years now. One method to bypass WGA was dreamt up back in 2006 and it is so efficient that Microsoft has not been able to find a workaround. This method is amazing in its simplicity: simply validate your version from a computer that has a genuine copy of Windows installed on it; get the hash and use it on your own system.

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An even simpler workaround would be to access the Security Center and select “Notify me but don’t automatically download or install them” feature. This way you will be notified when there are updates for your Windows OS, but you will get to choose which ones to download and install. If Microsoft has included WGA on the update list, do not download it.

It is estimated that a staggering 200 million Chinese users have Windows OS installed on their systems, and out of all those people most of them use pirated versions of the software. The WGA version that was launched in China is a bit more aggressive than the one launched in the west. First of all the user will get endless notification messages, then the desktop background will turn black every hour on the hour, and last but not least, MS Office applications cease to function properly.



Tags: Microsoft, Antipiracy
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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