With the advent of Windows Vista, cracks also became available being designed to bypass the activation process of the operating system. The new activation infrastructure and the Windows Genuine Advantage, set in place by the Redmond company, proved insufficient to deal with Windows Vista cracks. But no more. While cooking the first service pack for its latest Windows client, Microsoft announced that the refresh will mean that the free Vista ride would be over for users of the operating system with two specific activation workarounds implemented: the Grace Timer and OEM BIOS.
“We know that Windows Vista is a lot harder to counterfeit than Windows XP, but we also know that pirates will keep trying. We currently see two primary types of exploits pirates often use to generate counterfeit versions of Windows Vista. One 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. Another 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,” revealed Mike Sievert, Corporate Vice President, Windows Product Marketing.
Windows Vista Service Pack means that both cracks will be rendered useless, although Microsoft is anything but prompt when it comes to respond to Vista cracks. The Redmond company confirmed the existence of the ‘timer crack’ or ‘2099 crack’ via Alex Kochis, Senior Product Manager for Windows Genuine Advantage, since January 2nd, 2007. The OEM Vista activation crack has been brought into focus in the early April of this year. But, the two Vista cracks will only be addressed in Vista SP1, all the way into 2008. “We’re going to disable, again in the service pack, two types of popular activation exploits that are in wide use today. They are the Grace Timer and OEM BIOS exploits,” Kochis stated.
“Implementing exploits involves extreme alterations to key system components and can seriously affect system stability. So we are taking action. SP1 will include updates that will target those exploits and disable them,” Sievert added.
Windows Vista, WGA, Piracy, Anti-piracy, OEM, BIOS, Grace Timer, Microsoft, Service Pack, Vista SP1