Feeds

Lawsuit seeks to tag WGA nagware as spyware

Rebranding from bother to beast

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A US lawsuit has alleged that Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), Microsoft's controversial anti-piracy software, is little better than spyware.

A lawsuit (which seeks class-action status) filed in Washington district court last week also cries foul over false advertising as well as allegations of privacy law violations, Electronista reports. More specifically, the suit alleges that the XP version of WGA was offered to users as a security update rather than as an anti-counterfeiting technology.

WGA phones home to Microsoft daily with IP address and other information on users. The latest lawsuit, like others against WGA before it, takes exception to this behaviour.

The suit further says 'no fair' over the the alleged difficulty of purging the technology once it gets installed, behaviour that the latest complaint against WGA likens to that of spyware.

At least two lawsuits citing similar concerns about WGA were launched in 2006. Neither has come to anything as yet, and Microsoft has bundled modified versions of the technology within both Vista and Windows 7.

Also, since early 2007, Microsoft began offering Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) as an anti-piracy tool for Office productivity suite products.

Online validation using either WGA or OGA is normally needed to allow downloads of security updates or access to add-ons from Microsoft. As well as the accusations of invading the privacy of users, WGA has been criticised over allegedly high false positive rates (where genuine copies of Windows are flagged up as counterfeit). ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Whistling Google: PLEASE! Brussels can only hurt Europe, not us
And Commish is VERY pro-Google. Why should we worry?
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.