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Trojans likely to follow Win 7 activation hack

Beware Greeks bearing security bypasses

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Trojan attacks are likely in the wake of the Windows 7 product activation system cracks developed last week, less than a month after the release of Microsoft's latest operating system.

The RemoveWAT (and the similar ChewWGA) utility allow a prospective Windows 7 user to bypass the Windows Genuine Advantage registration procedure. Both hacks circumvent product activation without the need to have OEM keys, unlike earlier hacks on pre-release code.

Security firm Sunbelt Software warns that Trojans posing as Win 7 cracks are very likely to follow.

"RemoveWAT and Chew-WGA... join the grimy world of cracks and key-gens – oft-Trojanised applications that defeat activation passwords or other security on legitimate software," writes Sunbelt researcher Tom Kelchner.

"Trojanized versions of RemoveWAT and Chew-WGA soon will be available on websites and file-sharing networks near you. Look for them (or maybe we should say 'look out for them')," he added.

The release of the Win 7 cracking tools last week came as little surprise to security watchers.

Richard Kirk, European director at application vulnerability firm Fortify, noted that similar types of cracks arrived shortly after the release of Windows Vista in January 2007, and were solved when Microsoft issued an update. "Similar utilities for Windows XP also started appearing in the summer of 2005, shortly after the Windows Genuine Advantage system was made mandatory in July of that year," he added. ®

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