Feeds

Vista product activation unpicked

Broken by brute force and swiped from shelves

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The activation method used by Microsoft to protect Vista from piracy is under attack on multiple fronts.

According to Keznews, activation codes for Vista can be obtained by brute force using key generator software that randomly tries a variety of 25-digit codes until it finds one that works. With a powerful enough PC, users might be able to cycle through 20,000 different keys an hour until the software finds a key that fits. The key generator itself is a modified version of the original software license manager script file, according to reports.

A disclaimer on Keznews from the program's developers urges people not to sell the keys they generate. These keys might be one that a genuine customer is already using, which might cause Windows Genuine Advantage to refuse the cracked keys.

The greater broadband speeds available since the launch of Windows XP have made it a straightforward proposition to download illicit copies of Vista. Rather than go through the tedious business of running something like the key generation, we've heard from Register readers that some people on either side of the Atlantic have surreptitiously used the activation codes printed on boxed copies of Vista to get their system up and running. Use of cameraphones to capture these codes makes the process a breeze, we're told.

We don't know how widespread this practice is, but it creates a headache for Microsoft, as pirates activate the codes before they are used by legitimate users. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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

Whitepapers

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.