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Friday, June 23, 2006

Preventing Microsoft WGA from Phoning back home

A few months ago, Microsoft started forcing its Windows customers who were using the windows update site to install a verification tool on their computer to validate if their OS was legit or not. The problem with this is that they did not warn people that they would do so. The tool was downloaded automatically as a critical update when users went to WU, fooling them into believing that this was something they had to install.

This "update" named as the "Windows Genuine Advantage" tool (WGA) does 2 things:

  • 1- It takes a look at your installation key, verify if it's in a database of "pirated" ones, and block you from accessing downloadable content from Microsoft's website in the case you've been classified as a "big, bad and evil pirate".
  • 2- If you failed to prove that you bought your own version of Windows in #1, it keeps on harassing you via a small application that resides in your taskbar. It also sends indeterminate information to Microsoft every time you boot your computer, and does it even if your installation of Windows was considered as legit, which can be perceived by many as a violation of their security and privacy.

Fortunately, a private security company released a nice little utility to get rid of the controversial callback component in Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy tool. If you feel that Microsoft has no business sticking their pointy nose into your system and want WGA to stop "phoning back home", you can download the utility right here.

(via fixgadgets)


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