Menu
Pirates claim crack on Vista's authorisation

Pirates claim crack on Vista's authorisation

Hackers are distributing a file that they say lets users of the corporate version of Microsoft Windows Vista operating system get around the software's anti-piracy mechanisms.

Windows Vista must be authorised by Microsoft, before it will work on a particular machine. To simplify the task of activating many copies of Vista, Microsoft offers corporate users special tools, among them Key Management Service (KMS), which allows a company to run a Microsoft-supplied authorisation server on its own network and activate Vista without contacting Microsoft for each copy.

The software Microsoft.Windows.Vista.Local.Activation.Server-MelindaGates lets users spoof that KMS process, allowing them to activate copies of the enterprise editions of Vista, its creators say. The hacked download is available on-line on sites including The Pirate Bay and other file sharing sites.

Microsoft's official KMS offering is available to customers with 25 or more computers running Vista. The machines activate the software by connecting to the KMS server, and must reactivate every six months.

KMS is not the only option that enterprises have for volume activation of Vista: they can also call Microsoft by phone or connect over the Internet to activate the software.

The MelindaGates hack allows users to download a VMware image of a KMS server that activates Windows Vista Business/Enterprise edition, its creators claim.

Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment on the hack.

Vista is the first Windows operating system that requires volume users to activate each product. The new activation processes are aimed at reducing piracy.

While one security expert says he isn't surprised that KMS has been cracked, he says the MelindaGates hack offers some insight into piracy.

"This also shows how piracy is not just about kids swapping games," says Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of F-Secure Corp. "The only parties that would need a KMS crack would be corporations with volume licencing."


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags kmsMicrosoftf-securevistamelindaGates. VMwaremalware

Featured

Slideshows

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

From new extortion schemes, outside threats and rising cyber attacks, the art of securing the enterprise has seldom been so complex or challenging. With distance no longer a viable defence, Kiwi businesses are fighting to stay ahead of the security curve. In total, 28 per cent of local businesses faced a cyber attack last year, with the number in New Zealand set to rise in 2017. Yet amidst the sensationalism, media headlines and ongoing high profile breaches, confusion floods the channel, as partners seek strategic methods to combat rising sophistication from attackers. In sizing up the security spectrum, this Reseller News roundtable - in association with F5 Networks, Kaspersky Lab, Tech Data, Sophos and SonicWall - assessed where the channel sweet spot is within the New Zealand channel. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?
Show Comments