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Microsoft seeks Comcast subpoena to nab activation pirates

IP address behind thousands of bootleg Windows, Office, Server installations.

Microsoft has asked a US court to issue a subpoena to Comcast, in a bid to obtain subscriber-to-IP address information on users alleged to have pirated en mass copies of Windows and Office platforms.

The subpoena filed with a Washington US District Court seeks to identify users behind IP address 173.11.224.197 alleged to have activated thousands of copies of Microsoft wares.

A filing obtained by TorrentFreak shows Redmond is persuing users alleged to have contacted Microsoft servers some two thousand times between 2012 and 2015.

Microsoft says pirates will often install activated pirate copies of Windows software on computers and sell those at a cut-rate in what is known as hard-disk loading.

Redmond does not claim that the John Doe defendants are doing so.

"During the software activation process, defendants contacted Microsoft activation servers in Washington over two thousand times from 2012 to 2015, and transmitted detailed information to those servers in order to activate the software," Microsoft says in the documents [PDF].

"Defendants’ contact with Microsoft’s activation servers was voluntary, intentional and comprised a routine part of defendants’ installation of software.

"Defendants activated and attempted to activate at least several thousand copies of Microsoft software, much of which was pirated and unlicensed."

Microsoft says pirates activated copies of Windows 8, 7, Office 2010, and Windows Server 2008 and 2010 using stolen and repeatedly activated codes obtained through the Redmond's 'supply chain'.

The intelligence is gleaned from activation information voluntarily shared with Microsoft.

"[Forensics] allows Microsoft to analyse billions of activations of Microsoft software and identify activation patterns and characteristics that make it more likely than not that the IP address associated with the activations is an address through which pirated software is being activated," Redmond says.

It would be a significant gaffe on behalf of the alleged pirates if the IP address data pointed to their real identities.

Some of the most popular activation cracks rely on bypassing and blocking Microsoft software activation locally. ®

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