Crack as crack can

by Volker Weber

Windows Connected reports that an illegal KMS server appears on the Internet:

The business launch of Windows Vista is only a few days behind us and already the attempts to pirate Windows Vista are underway. Recently I stumbled on news of a rogue KMS servers that has appeared on the internet with information on how to activate a copy of Windows Vista VL against the server. Once activated your illegal copy of Windows Vista will be good for 180 days before it needs to talk to the KMS server again.

Let me try a prediction: The first users of Vista will be those who install absolutely everything with a higher version number, if only to impress their friends. This wave of people will rely on dodgy "cracks" for Vista, which gives crackers an excellent opportunity to install deeply rooted malware into those systems. Way beyond the reach of the PC owners. They will also install from images circulated on the network, which may already have lots of trojan horses slipstreamed into the installer.

Early next year we will see the second wave: People who get Vista with their new computer. And once they connect to the Internet, things will get interesting.

Update: This was quick: Windows Vista crack is actually a trojan


Ummm, you mean someone could try to infect a rootkit by another rootkit? Sorry, couldn't resists.

Martin Kautz, 2006-12-04

But why will things get so interesting then? Didn't you hear, Windows Vista is the safest Windows EVER! ;-)

Ragnar Schierholz, 2006-12-05

@Ragnar, LOL that is saying so much!

Stuart McIntyre, 2006-12-05

The only thing you can be sure of, with Windows Vista, is that you finally do not own your PC anymore. You just bought a license to be able to use it for the next 180 days or so, while financing the hardware to 100% — an economist's dream.

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2006-12-05

Karsten, why are you only buying a license to use the PC for x days? My understanding was that you buy the license to use WINDOWS for these x days (unless you register). I'm sure you are aware of other ways of using the PC, no involving Windows. Oh, and I'm not speaking of decoration or other non-computational purposes... ;-)

Ragnar Schierholz, 2006-12-05

Besides this being funny, don't you recognize the importance of all this for the education of future computer scientists?

Imagine a world without copy-protection and product-activation techniques! Would the computer kids generation be reverse-engineering to see a) how badly stuff is coded and learn from that and b) get to grips with the fact that one unmotivated, employed software engineer developing the stuff stands agains 100's of motivated computer nerds to crack it?

No, they would be playing video-games with a questionable impact on their education, wouldn't they?

Robert Schneider, 2006-12-05

Ragnar, they force you to reactivate. They already forced us all to obey "WGA" (whereever the genuine advantage may be in missing a few critical updates when not reading the system logs every day) before installing their updates, which in turn are needed because of their mediocre software design abilities, which in turn leads us into a situation where microsoft installs anything they wish on your computer, just because they can. They are a big corporation, so I don't dare doubting that they will do it.

And that's not a promising perspective, if you'd ask me.

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2006-12-05

Ah, and as a sidenote - sure, I know how to use a computer without using windows.

But how about the other 99% of users who voluntarily give up their freedom for colored icons? They simply do not know better, but is this a valid reason, on moral grounds?

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2006-12-05

If Apple would sell OSX separately they would likely find a tremendous market waiting. People are *trying* to make linux into OSX, but Apple has already done that work. It would make way too much sense (to me) if Apple just sold OSX to Windows users and launched Windows apps in a VM as needed.

Charles Robinson, 2006-12-05

Charles, you cannot "just sell" OS X. You would need drivers for all those bizarre Windows machines out there.

Volker Weber, 2006-12-05

> They simply do not know better, but is this a valid reason, on moral grounds?

They just don't want to know, that's a difference. Running a desktop computer is no rocket science. After the first loss of data due to an an attack everyone with an IQ slightly higher than a piece of bread should start to think. But a common "solution" for a virus/worm/$randommalware attack is to re-install windows and blame all the "bad guys out there on the internet of evil". One who doesn't know better, doesn't deserve better...

Ralf Stellmacher, 2006-12-05

Volker, most hardware is already supported in linux. Since OSX is based on some flavor of BSD I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to port the drivers. Besides, most PC hardware is fairly standard these days. Anyway, what I'm getting at is there is a huge untapped market of people who feel victimized by Windows, and Apple can either capitalize on it or watch linux do it.

Ralf - What are you suggesting as an alternative? Purchase an Apple computer and then purchase all new software?

Charles Robinson, 2006-12-05

Charles, although you're quite right in general, there's a "nasty little secret" with OS X. By tailoring the OS exactly to the hardware of Apple's chosing, Apple can not only optimize the drivers but also make sure that they'll work. The same isn't always true for BSD or Linux and while both of them work on a broad variety of hardware configurations they *do* have some problems with some add-on boards and other equipment. Apple is quite wise to not enter that general realm where one can build machines to one's own liking. However, they do have to touch it when it comes to peripherals and even Apple has some problems there. You can see that when for example attaching a scanner to a Mac which isn't always as easy as it possibly should be.

Stefan Rubner, 2006-12-05

Would you rip off your hardware sales (und die vergleichsweise dicke Marge) by licensing your actual brain stuff to other hardware vendors?

Martin Kautz, 2006-12-05

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