The “Genuine Fact Files” campaign comes one week before the Jan. 29 general release of Windows Vista, which includes a set of tools called the Software Protection Platform (SPP) that can put unvalidated copies of the software into a reduced-functionality mode.
In an interview with Computerworld last week, Cori Hartje, director of Microsoft’s Genuine Software Initiative, said the company has already downloaded pirated copies of Vista and Office 2007 in the U.S. and has found phony discs in South America, Asia and Europe. For example, during a December trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, she spotted a street vendor selling counterfeit CDs of both products. Hartje also discussed Microsoft’s efforts via SPP and its earlier Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program to ensure that users run authentic software. Excerpts from the interview follow:
What’s the most surprising thing you learned after Microsoft instituted the WGA program in mid-2005?The wild spread of leaked and stolen volume license keys. I was absolutely shocked at how fast a key that was just put on somebody’s blog on Google or Yahoo and was searched could make it around the world in eight days onto [illegitimate] products. …
Have you found any cases of IT workers deliberately contributing to the problem by selling or sending license keys to counterfeiters? I don’t have any evidence of any particular person [doing that]. Here’s the scenario that I think happens. Somebody says, “I need a key.” An IT pro has a key and gives that key to somebody. All of a sudden, that key ends up on a blog. I’ve personally seen them on blogs. I don’t know why those people would think to put them there, but they did. Boom. Wildfire. And the bad guys, the counterfeiters, are looking for those.
Because a volume key could activate an unlimited number of copies of Windows XP? Right. And they didn’t know it, either. Somehow, it would get out. So that technology needed to be changed, and that’s why we have SPP…..
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