Windows 8 security flaw allows pirates to activate legitimately at no cost

Nov 21, 2012
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A new security flaw has been discovered within Windows 8 that has to do with the operating systems activation process. The security flaw is significant in that it allows pirates to legitimately activate Windows 8 at no cost. Pirates are able to legitimately activate Windows 8 using the Windows Media Center upgrade promotion.

The flaw is reportedly within Microsoft's Key Management System and can be exploited when the Windows Media Center upgrade is applied on top of Windows 8. What that means is that for a free legitimate version of Windows 8, all the pirates need is the Windows Media Center upgrade, which is available for free for a limited time directly from Microsoft.

The Windows Media Center upgrade doesn't check the validity of activation when it is applied so any activated copy of Windows, legitimately or not, can be turned into a valid version of Windows 8. That's a significant security flaw for a company who loathes pirating like Microsoft.

The Key Management System activation allows unlicensed copies of Windows 8 to be usable for 180 days. That 180-day window is meant to allow Volume Licensing customers to automate and manage the activation process. I'm sure now that this flaw is known, Microsoft will quickly move to patch it eliminating this pirate capability.

[via Windows Wave]


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