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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Anti-Spyware Validationware

The Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware Beta was released today. It’s just a rebadged version of a product they bought up recently, but apparently is pretty good and it’s about time they threw some money and effort at the problem (fixing the underlying causes of the security holes would be even better).

What’s more interesting to me is the (currently optional) Windows validation system, first applied to selected downloads sometime last year. The idea is that you run an application which then associates your Windows license with the PC’s hardware profile, seemingly to extend and reinforce Product Activation (which doesn’t apply to older products and is bypassed by many).

It may be just a matter of time before validation is made compulsory and extended to all downloads, including Windows Update. It’s a tricky decision for Microsoft; for many years they’ve clearly tolerated widespread small-scale copying of their software, the idea being that they’d rather have someone use a dodgy copy of their product than a free/cheaper alternative. Clamping down would create a surge of Windows purchases overnight, but also boost downloads of Linux, Open Office, etc.


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