Tuesday, August 22, 2006

You may be a victim of software counterfeiting

If you are familiar with this notice you have become a "victim" of Microsoft's clandestine mechanism to enforce what they call the Windows Genuine Advantage program. The issue is not about forcing people to stop using their software illegally, something we wholeheartedly support, it is the mechanism they use to do it. WGA will bug you incessantly about "becoming legal" with popup's, desktop banner texts, browser helper objects, hidden installs, hidden protected files in system folders and the such. It is not effectively removable.Interestingly enough, these are the identical mechanisms routinely used by Malware/Viruses to infest your system with junk software and hard to remove marketing tools or worse - At the time we found it ironic that while clearly knowing Windows was filled with evolving exploits, Microsoft got into the business of selling tools that protect you from the exact nefarious software attempting to exploit it's own software. All this while being very quiet about fixing these core problems - We now find it doubly hilarious that Microsoft are now actually exploiting their own software vulnerabilities to achieve there own goals. GO FIGURE!
As a side note: It is estimated that this WGA notices have been enabled incorrectly on up to 25% of computers, meaning these systems are legal but for one or more reasons fail the WGA test. Therefore, to fix this issue MS released a product key update tool which you may be able to use to remove this notice.