Microsoft is pushing out a voluntary update to Windows Activation Technologies, the anti-piracy feature for Windows 7. The update will detect more than 70 known activation exploits used to bypass or compromise Windows 7 activation technologies.
Microsoft announced Feb.
11 that it will update Windows 7 with the ability to detect more than 70
activation exploits used by software
to beat Windows' activation technology.
The update is for Windows
(WAT), formerly known as Windows Genuine Advantage, and
is slated to be posted to Microsoft's download site next week. According to the
company, it will be offered as a voluntary upgrade through Windows Update as
well later on this month.
"The update will determine
whether Windows 7 installed on a PC is genuine and will better protect
customers' PCs by making sure that the integrity of key licensing components
remains intact," blogged
, general manager of Worldwide Genuine Windows at Microsoft.
The update is designed to
run on all editions of Windows 7, although the initial target will be the Home
Premium, Professional, Ultimate and
will be available online here Feb. 16, and then on Microsoft Download Center
"Once installed, the
Update protects customers by identifying known activation exploits that may
affect their PC experience," Williams blogged. "If any activation exploits are
found, Windows will alert the customer and offer options for resolving the
issue-in many cases, with just a few clicks. Machines running genuine Windows 7
software with no activation exploits will see nothing-the update runs quietly in
the background protecting your system."
If a user is running a pirated
copy of Windows 7
, however, the user will see informational dialog boxes
with options for the customer to either get more information or acquire genuine
Windows. The desktop wallpaper will be switched to a plain desktop, with all of
the customer's desktop icons, gadgets or pinned applications in place. Periodic
reminders and a persistent desktop watermark will remain as another signal to
the user, Williams explained.
"The update will run
periodic validations [initially every 90 days]," he continued. "During
validation, Windows will download the latest -signatures' that are used to
identify new activation exploits-much like an anti-virus service. When
tampering, disabling or missing licensing files are discovered, the
Update runs a check and repair
weekly to ensure that the licensing files are properly repaired."
According to a report by
the Business Software Alliance in May, a fifth of software in the
pirated, costing $9.1 billion in losses to the software market. There have also
been attempts to use Trojans hidden within pirated software to infect users.
Prior to the release of Windows 7, attackers
did exactly that
, lacing pirated copies of the operating system with
malware and circulating them on BitTorrent sites.
downloading or installing activation exploits or counterfeit software on the
Internet is risky. ... Buyers of new PCs should always check for the Certificate
of Authenticity [COA] to verify that the PC they are purchasing contains only
genuine Windows," Williams stated.