Starting this week, Microsoft will ship an update to Windows Vista Ultimate users to ferret out cracked copies of its most expensive and feature-packed operating system.The renewed anti-piracy campaign is aimed directly at the activation exploit known as the "SoftMod hack," according to a post on Microsoft's WGA blog.
This update enables Windows Vista to detect activation exploits that bypass product activation and that interfere with usual Windows operation. An activation exploit is a form of software that replaces or modifies authentic Windows components. When activation exploits are present on a system, it indicates that a software or hardware vendor may have tampered with genuine Windows to enable the sale of counterfeit software. Therefore, the security and the privacy of the computer are put at risk. After this update is installed, you will know if activation exploits are present on the system.
According to Alex Kochis, director of Microsoft's Windows Genuine group, this is what a user would see on a system that has detected the SoftMod activation exploit: