Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Exploit Allows Windows XP Piracy

Filed under
Microsoft

There's a major chink in Microsoft's Windows XP anti-piracy armor, although Windows users are not at risk of security attacks.

A security researcher in India has discovered an uncomplicated and easy-to-exploit weakness in Microsoft Corp.'s WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage), an anti-piracy initiative that checks whether consumer and small-business customers are running legitimately licensed copies of Windows XP.

Debasis Mohanty, a private vulnerability researcher and analyst of malicious programs, published a detailed proof-of-concept demonstration to show how the WGA validation check can be defeated to generate key codes for use on illegal copies of Windows XP.

Mohanty's findings come as the world's largest software maker prepares a mandatory rollout of the program.

Microsoft has been testing the Genuine Advantage program through its Download Center, where users are urged to validate their copies of XP before obtaining certain software updates, patches and fixes.

If users decide against validating, they are still allowed to obtain the requested downloads, but later this summer updates will only be pushed out to valid copies. Security updates will not require validation, even after WGA goes mandatory.

A Microsoft spokesperson on Monday confirmed Mohanty's findings but insisted that the weakness presented no real threat to the company's attempts to strangle software pirates.

The spokesperson said there were no plans to modify the way WGA works, even after Mohanty's public demonstration, which was posted on a high-profile security mailing list.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

ownCloud Desktop Client 2.2.4 Released with Updated Dolphin Plugin, Bug Fixes

ownCloud is still alive and kicking, and they've recently released a new maintenance update of the ownCloud Desktop Client, version 2.2.4, bringing some much-needed improvements and patching various annoying issues. Read more

Early Benchmarks Of The Linux 4.9 DRM-Next Radeon/AMDGPU Drivers

While Linux 4.9 will not officially open for development until next week, the DRM-Next code is ready to roll with all major feature work having been committed by the different open-source Direct Rendering Manager drivers. In this article is some preliminary testing of this DRM-Next code as of 29 September when testing various AMD GPUs with the Radeon and AMDGPU DRM drivers. Linux 4.9 does bring compile-time-offered experimental support for the AMD Southern Islands GCN 1.0 hardware on AMDGPU, but that isn't the focus of this article. A follow-up comparison is being done with GCN 1.0/1.1 experimental support enabled to see the Radeon vs. AMDGPU performance difference on that hardware. For today's testing was a Radeon R7 370 to look at the Radeon DRM performance and for AMDGPU testing was the Radeon R9 285, R9 Fury, and RX 480. Benchmarks were done from the Linux 4.8 Git and Linux DRM-Next kernels as of 29 September. Read more

How to Effectively and Efficiently Edit Configuration Files in Linux

Every Linux administrator has to eventually (and manually) edit a configuration file. Whether you are setting up a web server, configuring a service to connect to a database, tweaking a bash script, or troubleshooting a network connection, you cannot avoid a dive deep into the heart of one or more configuration files. To some, the prospect of manually editing configuration files is akin to a nightmare. Wading through what seems like countless lines of options and comments can put you on the fast track for hair and sanity loss. Which, of course, isn’t true. In fact, most Linux administrators enjoy a good debugging or configuration challenge. Sifting through the minutiae of how a server or software functions is a great way to pass time. But this process doesn’t have to be an exercise in ineffective inefficiency. In fact, tools are available to you that go a very long way to make the editing of config files much, much easier. I’m going to introduce you to a few such tools, to ease some of the burden of your Linux admin duties. I’ll first discuss the command-line tools that are invaluable to the task of making configuration more efficient. Read more

Why Good Linux Sysadmins Use Markdown

The Markdown markup language is perfect for writing system administrator documentation: it is lightweight, versatile, and easy to learn, so you spend your time writing instead of fighting with formatting. The life of a Linux system administrator is complex and varied, and you know that documenting your work is a big time-saver. A documentation web server shared by you and your colleagues is a wonderful productivity tool. Most of us know simple HTML, and can whack up a web page as easily as writing plain text. But using Markdown is better. Read more