Windows Vista activation cracked by brute force

Windows Vista activation cracked by brute force

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

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TOPICS: Windows
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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?

Topic: Windows

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11 comments
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  • Please provide us a few extra keys once done

    "Brute force" has such a pretty ring to it. Like so many other things MS related.
    klumper
    • just wait for a few days and a gui version probably be out. (nt)

      ;-)
      Arm A. Geddon
  • There goes the neighborhood

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

    That didn't take long exactly two months cancel or allow?
    Kobashrer
  • Really, I'm shocked

    Gee, how much did MS spend on this system? How many man hours? Well, that was a good investment.
    tic swayback
    • I'm not, Bill got a little cocky

      Challenging the world to actually crack Vista. They are really going to be in a bad way. How do you re-write the code, test it, re-deploy it in the already installed machines? This is going to be a real mess, as Adrian stated, keys for valid versions don't work. Keys that used to work, borked and WGA revalidation?

      The fact that probably 1/2 a billion of the billion put into the DRM subsystem and WGA part II only tells me that they will continue throwing good money after bad on all this.

      TripleII

      P.S. I knew you were not shocked. :)
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • Serves Bill right.

        [i]"P.S. I knew you were not shocked."[/i] :)

        I wasn't shocked either. I did laugh out loud.

        How long until OGA is cracked the same way?

        The whole Vista thing seems very shambolic compared to other Windows launches. I looks to me like Vista has been pushed out the door half finished and SP1 will be the "big fix". The of things that should have been sorted just keeps growing:

        Video problems
        Network folder problems
        Problems with moving key folders
        Office 2007 and other components with hard coded folders
        UAC half-baked
        Lack of drivers
        Upgrades are cr*p - clean installs only please

        Then there is software disruption. Admittedly a lot of this is caused by the software vendor, but what difference does that make to (as you Yanks put it) "Mom & Pop"?
        - Apps not working properly or at all
        - Some UK broadband installs are failing - rewrite required
        - Problems with A/V packages

        Well, Microsoft said Vista's impact would be huge and they were right! It's certainly making an impact.
        bportlock
      • News just in...

        After my previous post, I cam across this

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6407419.stm

        and this is the net problems mentioned in the previous post

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6407925.stm

        No doubt about it - Vista's definitely making an impact!
        bportlock
  • Why bother

    There will never be an uncrackable code.

    Obfuscation by cryptology only create tender hogs.

    Hasta La Vista MS.
    xmeshman
  • But I thought Vista sucked?

    Hmm, I guess it doesn't if people are frantically trying to find ways of getting it! Considering XP is 1,000,000 times easier to pirate, this only proves that Vista has a lot to offer over XP. Hmm, I guess all the ABMers have just been proven wrong about Vista. OUCH!!!!!

    The other funny thing is that bypassing Apple's TPM DRM chip to get OSX running on reasonably priced hardware (this means non-Apple hardware) is also far easier than what people are going through just to get Vista. I guess this also proves that Vista is far, far, far better than OSX! Well, that is no big surprise. Poor Mac zealots. This has been a rough day for them what with Maynor proving that Jobs was a big liar (along with all the Mac zealots who believed that OSX was invincible) and now proof that Vista >>>>>>>>> OSX. Then there is the embarrassment of AppleTV being late and underfeatured and also the [b]huge[/b] shame of the crippled iPhone (DumbPhone). I'm sure glad I haven't hitched my wagon to a vendor that is fanatical about locking in all of its customers with loads and loads of DRM built right into the hardware!!
    NonZealot
    • Piracy is an industry like any other

      If you are, say, a vendor in India, selling your pirated wares, you can charge $5 for XP and $9.99 for Vista. Regardless of whether it is all that much better, it's new, and people like shiny and new. Whether the distribution model is absolutely illegal doesn't change anything.

      I don't think, in general, Vista is doing all that well based on sales, and the sheer number of early adopter problems, but that isn't relevant to why it is being pirated. If Vista were not handcuffed and demanded by MS on new PCs, Vista would be looking pretty much like a failure.

      As for Apple, you say they have a TPM chip, (a chip, singular) then "load and loads of DRM built into the hardware?. We will see how poorly Apple is doing in about a year. Current trends indicate almost a doubling of sales. The iPhone will sell for it's cool factor (and little other reason), AppleTV, Unbox, Zune, WalmartVideo, ALL OF THEM SUCK.

      It is amazing, however, how everything, every blog, every topic, everything is always the EXACTLY appropriate forum to slam Apple. I bet Apple is responsible for MS's currnet OOXML woes, Ford's latest earnings report and the price of gas today

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
  • Microsoft Has Developed

    Yes, this is the one area that Microsoft is truly the champion.... They have developed a method to prevent piracy of Vista.....by making it sooooo undesirable that no one wants it enough to pirate it.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6407419.stm
    Ole Man