Windows Vista to contain a “kill switch”



October 4th, 2006

Given the problems that innocent users are having getting WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) to recognize their genuine copy of Windows as genuine, it seems like a really bad idea for Microsoft to "bake" technology that sounds an awful lot like WGA into Windows Vista.  This technology is called Software Protection Platform (SPP for short).  Here's a few details:

The Software Protection Platform has been under development for several years. It brings together new anti-piracy innovations, counterfeit detection and tamper-resistant features into a complete platform that provides better software protection to programs that leverage it. Initially, the upcoming releases of Windows Vista and Windows Server “Longhorn” will be the first two products to ship with this technology included, and eventually more Microsoft products will adopt this technology.

One of the things the Software Protection Platform enables is enhancements to the genuine experience in Windows Vista, thereby differentiating it from the non-genuine experience. Customers that use genuine Windows Vista product should expect, and will get, an enhanced set of features that will not work on non-genuine or unlicensed versions of Windows Vista. Customers using genuine and licensed copies of Windows Vista will have access to Windows Aero and Windows ReadyBoost features, as well as full functionality of Windows Defender and extra optional updates from Windows Update. Computer systems that do not pass validation will not have access to these features, although they will still have access to critical security updates.

This is extremely worrying.  Ed Bott sums it up well:

What's most distressing about the SPP announcement is Microsoft's continued insistence that its anti-piracy tools are nearly perfect and that innocent victims never suffer from errors in their code.

A good start would be to see an acknowledgment from Microsoft that WGA is capable of false-positives.  That would bring us a step closer to a solution.

Ironically, it seems that a system glitch at Microsoft caused WGA validation problems for some customers using VLKs (Volume Licensing Keys).

So glitches can happen ...

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 4th, 2006 at 17:58 and is filed under PC Doctor's Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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