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Microsoft issued virus "WGA" ruled legit.

by James Denison / March 31, 2010 1:54 AM PDT

Missed seeing this one last month. They say if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. Still looks, acts, gathers and sends info the user hasn't approved back to someone, which in my book makes it same as a Trojan or virus.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9154178/Judge_dismisses_Windows_anti_piracy_software_lawsuit

A federal judge last week dismissed a three-year-old lawsuit that accused Microsoft of duping customers when it fed them company anti-piracy software as a critical security update, court documents show.

In June 2006, Microsoft pushed its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) anti-counterfeit software to Windows XP as a "high priority" update that was automatically downloaded to and installed on most machines.

Multiple lawsuits filed in July 2006 claimed that Microsoft mislead users by labeling the WGA software as a security update, and failed to tell customers that WGA collected information from their PCs, then frequently "phoned home" the data to Microsoft's servers. The plaintiffs later combined their cases and asked the court to grant the joint lawsuit as a class-action.

Last month, Jones denied several motions by the plaintiffs, including one that would have given them a third chance to turn the case into a class-action lawsuit.

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Thanks James. I feel like such a permanent newbie
by Ziks511 / March 31, 2010 11:18 AM PDT

in the computer world. I don't seem to see any of this coming, or entirely understand it when it arrives.

Rob

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So call it a sort of vigilante approach
by Steven Haninger / March 31, 2010 8:18 PM PDT

There's no legal doubt that pirating is theft and theft is illegal. MS and other software developers don't really have the same protection system in place that other businesses are afforded...that being some investigating organization or police force on the street. If someone steals your Chevy, GM doesn't care. I don't see a simple solution to the issue of "intellectual property" but I'm not unhappy that MS is trying to set precedents and follow through with action of some type. We put exploding dye packets in money bags, don't we?

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what if it was a car
by James Denison / April 1, 2010 5:39 AM PDT

And to cut down on the amount of stolen cars all of them had to install an anti-theft program. What if that program went off at times when it shouldn't, while you are in heavy traffic going down the highway? What if you were just leaving for work and suddenly your car flashed a message, "This car is stolen" and you know darn well you bought it new at the dealership? What if you were suddenly told "Your VIN (volume license key for windows) is no longer valid", even though it had been for several years and still should be? Let's say you drive a Hybrid and it says, "We've detected two different engines (two loaded hard drives for computers) in this vehicle and you must reactivate it". You take your car in to have a blown engine (motherboard) replaced and the tech tells you the new engine is fine, but you can't use the car yet till you "activate" it. You call to activate the car, the same one with the rip in the driver's seat, the crunch on the fender, the bald tires up front, the soon to be replaced muffler, and you are told you're trying to activate your system on an invalid car now? Where else does such foolishness in a consumer product exist, than with Microsoft starting with XP? They weren't making money before they started it? They had lots of requests from users to do this? The measure dropped the price of their software in half due to all those "pirates" they claim it stops? Where's the dividend in all of it for us, the consumer, who at times have to "reactivate" or for OEM software especially get the phone runaround when trying to do so? No, I'm calling it a "Virus" long as they keep it.

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Good points but, in your scenario
by Steven Haninger / April 1, 2010 6:50 AM PDT
In reply to: what if it was a car

you take that up with someone who made the anti-theft device or required it. These already get accidentally set off quite regularly. It's a nuisance and an embarrassment. I've done that myself but I do believe this is a bit of apples and oranges here in that it's not affecting the manufacturer unless you don't like the feature and refuse buy. Software duplication is inexpensive with almost no labor to pay. Automobile manufacture isn't so easy. Besides, car thieves aren't really interested in keeping what they've stolen for themselves. It's kids joyriding, robbers needing a getaway vehicle and chop shops. I doubt anyone is going to try and hack a car's anti-theft system to keep it or sell it. As I indicated, I can't blame MS for taking this upon themselves as no enforcement agency is going to do it for them.

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