Feeds

Microsoft 'wait-and-see' on Vista BIOS hack

Tic-tock

Security for virtualized datacentres

Microsoft has no immediate plans to tackle a reported hack to Windows Vista product activation that could allow illegal copies of Windows to be widely installed.

The hack is not yet viewed as a wide-scale threat, although Microsoft indicated it may act if more hackers view breaking Windows Vista's OEM product activation as a challenge worth taking.

Alex Kochis, a Microsoft senior product manager, blogged: "Because Windows Vista can't be pirated as easily as Windows XP, it's possible that the increased pressure will result in more interest in efforts to hack the OEM Activation 2.0 implementation."

Microsoft responded following reports Windows Vista's OEM Activation (OA) 2.0 has been broken. OA uses pre-installed code on the BIOS of an OEM'd PC motherboard to identify the system as pre-installed with a licensed copy of Windows.

The company has so-far identified two approaches to cracking OA 2.0. One involves editing the BIOS on the motherboard to make it appear as if it's from an authorized OEM, and the second uses software to convince Windows Vista it's running on OA 2.0-enabled hardware.

Microsoft last saw product activation hacked when it introduced Windows XP in 2001.

According to Kochis, Microsoft is taking a wait-and-see approach on this latest challenge: "Our goal isn't to stop every 'mad scientist' that's on a mission to hack Windows. Our goal is to disrupt the business model of organized counterfeiters and protect users from becoming unknown victims. This means focusing on responding to hacks that are scalable and can easily be commercialized." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.