No More Free Lunch, Microsoft Tells Pirates

Your free lunch days are over, Microsoft is telling software pirates and their cheapo customers.

Make no mistake, Microsoft is aggressively going after pirates of its software these days.

And to prove that it means business now where piracy of its software is concerned, the software company’s been throwing around some impressive numbers.

Just the other day, Microsoft was gloating that it’s cut the piracy rate for its Windows Vista operating system by more than half compared to its earlier generation Windows XP operating system.

Microsoft officials say pirates are currently resorting to two common types of exploits to generate counterfeit versions of Windows Vista and that the company will target both exploits with the upcoming release of Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

The first is known as the OEM Bios exploit, which involves modifying system files and the BIOS of the motherboard to mimic a type of product activation performed on copies of Windows that are pre-installed by OEMs in the factory.

The second common form of Windows Vista piracy is called the Grace Timer exploit. This exploit attempts to reset the “grace time” limit between installation and activation to something like the year 2099 in some cases.

Microsoft warned that implementing exploits involves extreme alterations to key system components and could seriously affect system stability.

According to Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Windows Product Marketing Michael Sievert, in the last year alone, the company had taken legal action against 1,000 dealers of counterfeit Microsoft products, taken down more than 50,000 illegal online software auctions and reached out to millions of customers with “How to Tell” and anti-piracy focused educational web sites.

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