Microsoft to scan for pirates every 90 days

Redmond giant Microsoft is trying to tackle the use of counterfeit versions of Windows 7 by cracking down on software hacks.

piracy

Microsoft will step up its fight against counterfeit software by issuing an update for Windows 7 that will check every 90 days to see if users have attempted to circumvent its activation processes.

Many users around the world have implemented "hacks" to enable them to circumvent Microsoft's activation processes and use pirated software.

With its update, Windows Activation Technologies Update for Windows 7, Microsoft is intending to identify users who have implemented hacks.

Upon finding evidence of a hack, Microsoft's update - due for release on Tuesday - will install a watermark on the user's desktop warning that they must only use a genuine copy of Windows and repeatedly prompting the user to buy.

The update will detect 70 of the most common hacks, Microsoft said. Windows Activation Technologies is Microsoft's latest name for the often unpopular anti-piracy software which preceded it Windows Genuine Advantage and Windows Product Activation.

"The update will determine whether Windows 7... is genuine and will better protect customers' PCs by making sure that the integrity of key licensing components remains intact," wrote Joe Williams, Microsoft's general manager for Genuine Windows, in a blog post.

"The update protects customers by identifying known activation exploits... If any activation exploits are found, Windows will alert the customer and offer options for resolving the issue."

The update will check every 90 days to see if any new hacks have been installed. Each check will include new signatures aimed at identifying the latest hacks.

Some users were unhappy at the prospect of Microsoft's latest update. One comment on the post noted: "Excuse me but no. Enough is enough. I run a tight ship here. I scan for malware. Microsoft, I'm sorry, you don't get the right to run period validations of my Windows 7s in my office every 90 days."

Other users may be concerned that the update could identify their genuine copies of Windows as pirated, as has occasionally been the case in the past.

While the update will be pushed out to individuals, it will not be available to enterprise customers through Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), which is used by businesses to manage the distribution of software updates. Instead, IT professionals will have to import the update into WSUS through the Microsoft Update catalog, if they wish to install it. Installation is voluntary, Williams insisted, adding that users of genuine copies will notice no effect from the update.

Notably, release of the update will be delayed in China, where Microsoft has for years grappled with notoriously high levels of Windows piracy. Users there will not see the update until the summer.

Microsoft is already on the back foot in China over its plans to crack down on pirated versions of Windows XP, which involved turning the screen black for users of pirated versions. The latest delay may be a concession aimed at heading off a possible conflict with Chinese users.

Featured Resources

Security analytics for your multi-cloud deployments

IBM Security QRadar SIEM solution brief

Download now

Five reasons to move to the cloud

Join the enterprises moving their workloads to the cloud

Download now

Architecting hybrid IT and edge for digital advantage

Why business leaders should consider a hybrid IT strategy

Download now

Six reasons to accelerate remote asset monitoring with AI

How to optimise resources, increase productivity, and grow profit margins with AI

Download now

Recommended

Lazarus APT hacking group is targeting the defense industry
Security

Lazarus APT hacking group is targeting the defense industry

26 Feb 2021
Microsoft open sources CodeQL queries used in Solorigate inquiry
Security

Microsoft open sources CodeQL queries used in Solorigate inquiry

26 Feb 2021
CISA warns of ongoing Accellion File Transfer Appliance attacks
hacking

CISA warns of ongoing Accellion File Transfer Appliance attacks

25 Feb 2021
What is a Trojan?
Security

What is a Trojan?

25 Feb 2021

Most Popular

How to build a CMS with React and Google Sheets
content management system (CMS)

How to build a CMS with React and Google Sheets

24 Feb 2021
Npower shuts down app after hackers steal user data
hacking

Npower shuts down app after hackers steal user data

25 Feb 2021
New monitors for an agile new normal
Sponsored

New monitors for an agile new normal

19 Feb 2021