Windows Vista activation cracked by brute force

Microsoft's Windows Vista activation process has been cracked - by using brute force technique.

Microsoft's Windows Vista activation process has been cracked - by using brute force technique.

Users over on the Keznews forum (registration required, summary here that doesn't require sign up) have come up with a way to crack Microsoft Windows Vista activation using a process that relies of brute force.  The process is slow and manual, but given a few hours or few days it seems to be able to generate valid keys that will allow Windows Vista to be activated (claims are that the technique can check about 20,000 keys an hour).  The crack relies on using a modified version of the software license manager script file.

This is pretty serious for two reasons.  First, it allows people to pull product keys for Windows Vista out of the air and get a free ride on the Vista train.  However, the more serious side to this is that since this process could well be generating keys that exist on boxed products - imagine buying Vista, installing it and then trying to activate it only to be told that there's a problem. 

I'm going to take a closer look at the process and see whether it actually works, how long it takes.

What does this means to Microsoft?  How will the Redmond giant respond?

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