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March 2, 2007

Vista brute force crack alert

Posted by David Hunter at 1:33 PM ET.

Charlie Demerjian at The Inquirer reports that Vista activation cracked by brute force:

IT LOOKS LIKE Microsoft’s unhackable OS activation malware has been hacked.

There is an active thread at the Keznews forums (account needed), and a summary on its main page about the crack.

It is a simple brute force attack, dumb as a rock that just tries keys. If it gets one, you manually have to check it and try activation. Is is ugly, takes hours, is far from point and click, but it is said to work. I don’t have any Vista installs because of the anti-user licensing so I have not tested it personally.

The method of attack has got to be quite troubling for MS on many grounds. The crack is a glorified guesser, and with the speed of modern PCs and the number of outstanding keys, the 25-digit serials are within range. The biggest problem for MS? If this gets widespread, and I hope it will, people will start activating legit keys that are owned by other people

It won’t take long for boxes bought at retail to be activated before they are bought, and the people who plunk down money for the mal^h^h^hsoftware for real get ‘you are a filthy pirate’ messages. Won’t that be a laugh riot at the MS phone banks in Bangalore.

As you can see there is a certain amount of schadenfreude amid the punditry. The full links are in the original article.

Update 3/4: Paul Miller at Endaget reports that the author of this “crack” now admits it was a hoax. The odd part is the number of people claiming to have found valid keys.

Filed under Legal, Microsoft, OS - Client, Piracy, Windows Vista

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