Oops! Leaked WinXP code contains valid product key

Very helpful of the good people in Redmond...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

New hybrid storage solutions

The latest WinXP RC1 leak makes the security of Microsoft's preview program download look feeble enough, but it turns out there's more - somebody seems to have left a working product key not very deeply buried in the iso. Naturally that product key will cease to work for Product Activation just as soon as Microsoft realises what happened (which is around now), but it does mean that anybody who got to the unauthorised download link has the capability to install the software.

Then they can either just run it for two weeks until it times out, or hunt around until they find a crack that'll do service. Alternatively, if they're really quick and Microsoft doesn't already have the key on the death list, it may do service for a couple more hours.

The key itself is in a sample unattended install file that ships with the preview program edition. Almost all of the data has been replaced by generic entries, but it looks like somebody slipped up when it came to the key.

Back at the leakface, RC1 leak two has now been plugged; it's possible that Conxion has done this via some means other than changing the filename, but don't count on it. Our sources, however, claim that there's already a third route to free RC1 - we'll attempt to confirm that later in the day.

One source puts forward a plausible explanation for Microsoft's and Conxion's embarrassment; he blames Microsoft's download manager. This, he claims, doesn't retain any username/password combinations. "It is just queued files for download." So if you hit on the right filename to pass to the download manager, you ought to be able to get a free copy of anything that uses this procedure. The system's used for beta programs, and for MSDN, the latter being the developer program which gives you early access to practically all code in exchange for a whacking annual subscription.

If our source's theory is correct, Microsoft could therefore have a whacking security problem on its hands... ®

Related Stories

New MS-Conxion leak allows WinXP RC1 free download
WinXP RC1download leak is Preview Program code

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story


Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.