Monday, June 12, 2006

Less than trusted computing from Microsoft

One of the more annoying things about computing today is the stupid things software publishers are doing to try to reduce software piracy. This recent news story about Microsoft's latest attempts to thwart people's attempts to use bogus copies of Windows XP is just unreal. I ran across this at work the other day when I noticed that my 3rd party firewall software kept alerting me to a new process which was trying to "call home". After some investigation I learned that it was this new "feature" of Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) software. Every time you boot Windows XP it now calls Microsoft to "check in". I think it's about time people start voicing some outrage over things like this before we spend more time wondering what our legitimately purchased software is doing in the background than we do actually using it.

One quick note: I was able to stop this issue cold by setting my firewall software to always block the outbound request. I have no idea what the long term effect of doing this might be but at least I know it's not calling home anymore!

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