Is Microsoft’s Anti-Spyware Really a Bootlegged Windows “Gotcha!”?
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Not long ago Aunty reported to you about Microsoft’s new, free anti-spyware. Aunty thought that this wasn’t a bad idea.

However, over the course of the past few days, some people have come to believe that the offering is not so much an anti-spyware designed to help you, but rather an anti-pirate device, designed to help Microsoft crack down on those using bootlegged versions of Windows.


Of course, Aunty says that there is no reason that it can’t be both!

It is being reported that the way it works is like this (Aunty uses Macs, Linux and FreeBSD, so is unable to verify this – if any readers have anything to report, please do!):

Users go to the Microsoft site to download the anti-spyware. When they click on the download link, however, rather than the anti-spyware program being downloaded, a small executable file is downloaded to the user’s computer. This executable, it is believed, scans the user’s hard drive for the license key for their version of Windows, and then generates a special code which the user is told to send to Microsoft. If their version of Windows is legitimate, all is well and good and the user is able to download the anti-spyware. However, if the code tells Microsoft that the version of Windows which the user has is a bootlegged version, the user is told that they must pay for their version of Windows, and is not allowed to download the anti-spyware.

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And of course, Microsoft has now identified them as having a pirated verson of the Windows software.

Gotcha!

Now, Aunty is not saying that this is or is not necessarily a bad thing, however, if this is all true, it begs the question: isn’t that executable, itself, spyware?

 

Oh, the irony!

Of course it may not be true – anyone out there want to verify or debunk the rumours?

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26 thoughts on “Is Microsoft’s Anti-Spyware Really a Bootlegged Windows “Gotcha!”?
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  1. I dont know if anyone noticed, but anti-spy beta was good, Windows Defender is junk! It doesnt get rid of anything hardly except tracking cookies… SpyBot does a better job than that junk, and you all are correct, its a program design’d to steal data on what your doing, and on what you have and reports it every time it “updates” have you ever noticed that Win Defnd. Does nothing? think about that. Anything from Microsoft in reguards to Anti- anything is to be questioned…

    Id rather pay my 50 bucks to CA, or Trend Micro for protection.

  2. I have NOT downloaded this & I’m not so sure that I want to. While I have a Legit puter, I have a problem with Big Brother coming in and checking it in the name of Looking Out After ME. It feels no different than the local sherriff coming into my home & making SURE that I have No Violations. Why should they invade my Privacy to prove something to me that I already know? I Have a Legit version, therefore I don’t Need their help ;) IF I get worried about something then I will ASK for their help. But please don’t FORCE it on me in the name of Looking Out for Me..Sounds like The Government..LOL LOL

  3. I’ve noticed that clients who I know have questionable versions of windows all experienced a shut down, all were running the new Windows Defender. At first, I didn’t notice, but then it seemed strange that all experienced the exact same problem, different machines, different configs, but all experienced the exact problem of shutting down. None had a virus, nor a root kit. But all did recently download Windows Defender. At first, I thought that was the virus. Now that I read this post, I’m beginning to think that MS, in a weird way is paving the way to shoot all who have such systems, down with one swoop.

  4. For anyone who looking for Microsoft AntiSpyware download site, go here :
    http://www.download.com/Microsoft-Anti-Spyware/3000-8022_4-10353596.html

  5. why use MS stuff and their crappy tool. there are tons of free ant-spyware tools out there that works much better.

    Quoted: “With all the hacking software and spyware available now to invade the average computer user, don’t you suppose Microsoft could hack into a system that they wrote (compiled) to validate it?”

    NO, MS cannot “hack” into the system just as easy as you think. They can’t just go and probe blindly probe every IP that have visited their sites! Their only way of “hacking” into YOUR system to know if it is ligit or not is to make you download a “hidden” file that’s so called “spyware”, as discussed!

  6. why use MS stuff and their crappy tool. there are tons of free ant-spyware tools out there that works much better.

    Quoted: “With all the hacking software and spyware available now to invade the average computer user, don’t you suppose Microsoft could hack into a system that they wrote (compiled) to validate it?”

    NO, MS cannot “hack” into the system just as easy as you think. They can’t just go and probe blindly probe every IP that have visited their sites! Their only way of “hacking” into YOUR system to know if it is ligit or not is to make you download a “hidden” file that’s so called “spyware”, as discussed!

  7. why use MS stuff and their crappy tool. there are tons of free ant-spyware tools out there that works much better.

    Quoted: “With all the hacking software and spyware available now to invade the average computer user, don’t you suppose Microsoft could hack into a system that they wrote (compiled) to validate it?”

    NO, MS cannot “hack” into the system just as easy as you think. They can’t just go and probe blindly probe every IP that have visited their sites! Their only way of “hacking” into YOUR system to know if it is ligit or not is to make you download a “hidden” file that’s so called “spyware”, as discussed!

  8. Soooo…. Why shoudn’t MS have the right to limit add on software it has to offer from folks who use pirated software of Windows. After all, MS is in the business to make money. I laud MS for restricting those who will not purchase Windows by normal legal means.
    TwoSpirt

  9. I skipped the validate option, the MS antispyware still downloaded { well something downloaded with that name } i haven’t got around to trying it out YET. but that’s not unusal for me. I sometimes wait weeks or months before installing something I downloaded.

    I have a Used laptop a compaq 350mhz aramada has my priamry computer , it came with windows 2000 pro , on it. with the product key,

    who is the rightful owner of this installation, the first owner, Me, or MS

    I am not going to risk, loosing the operational capabilites of my machine by running some validation file from the MS website

    however I fully intend to buy a NEW install disk of 2000 from a vendor at one of the computer shows , so i can have the CD and the manual and service packs and it will come with a new product key, which means any record MS has of this machine number + product key will no longer match

    what will that mean , when it comes time for more updates, used computers are entering the market place at increasing numbers.. people don’t buy a used machine for a few hundred then spend another $150 or more just so they can turn it on

  10. Who thinks Microsoft actually has to ask anyone to download an executable file (or any other kind, for that matter) in order to validate their os or check their computer?
    With all the hacking software and spyware available now to invade the average computer user, don’t you suppose Microsoft could hack into a system that they wrote (compiled) to validate it? (Or shut it down if they were so inclined).
    I think the only reason they don’t shut down (disable) every computer running illigal software is public relations. What do you think?

  11. Downloaded without any comment, Questions nor any offers perhaps they already have a record of mine being an honest copy of their software. WinXP home edition

  12. Re: The Microsoft Antispyware. You don’t have to validate Windows in order to get the executable. You can select the NO option and you’ll get the executable. However, I don’t see the MS Antispyware working all that great yet. I downloaded and installed it. Then ran it, without encountering any problems, and it found nothing. Then I ran Spybot S&D followed by AdAware, both of which found problems and removed them. So I’m not seeing any real benefit using this product as of this date.

    LA

  13. it will ask you if you want to “Validate Windows and obtain the downloadâ€? I did asked me to download 2 .exes Installed but couldn’t Validate asked for my key. So I skipped it and downloaded. Have a legal xp pro. But my security was probably to high to Validate.

  14. This system by Microsoft would be no different than when certain -umm- “evaluation copies” of their OS floating around are brought to Windows Updates and are refused service due to an invalid product key.

  15. I don’t understand the problem. If you have a legitimate version of windows your OK, if you have a pirate version – that makes you a pirate. Then the law of the high seas apply. That is to say you are you are criminal. I believe any company has the right to protect itself from theft – its a legal concept called copyright. To dress this up as some kind of intrusion of your privacy is a false argument. Its like the criminal who carries a gun, and then tries to sue the police for excessive force during his arrest.

    By the way I’m not a Microsoft Employee

  16. Even when Microsoft released photostory 3, they had the same validation requirement but later they abruptly removed that and provided a direct link for download.

    The Indian Blogger

  17. Actually MS has been doing this very thing for numerous other downloads of late. I don’t think it is [yet] *required* for you to allow them to check your copy, its all on a volunteer basis [for now.] I was able to validate my copy of Windows on a previous download, and since I use FireFox and thus don’t have ActiveX, I didn’t bother to let MS check me *again* for the AntiSpyware download, and yet I was still able to do a successfull download. (On three different machines in fact.)

    More info here: http://news.com.com/Microsoft+battles+piracy+with+free+software/2100-1016_3-5429449.html
    or here:
    http://news.com.com/Microsoft+Can+we+check+your+software+license/2100-1016_3-5371664.html

  18. Actually the AntiSpyware isn’t the spy, the ActiveX item that has to be downloaded before almost any Microsoft download today is the spy. This item is being used before almost all downloads from Microsoft. Bootlegged copies will either have to pay up or get somebody with a non-bootlegged copy to download it for them. I support this, because it may save us all money in the long run.

  19. When you go to Microsoft’s site to download the Anti-Spyware program, you are told that it is recommended that you also download that executable (to verify you have a legitimate copy of XP), but they say you don’t have to. I decided not to download that initial .exe, went to the download page, downloaded and installed the Anti-Spyware program with no trouble. And I, ahem, would likely be advised if the program searched for the xp product key code.

  20. I am using MS’s beta antispyware, but had already forgotten the process of downloading it. This time, when I arrived at the download page, I chose the “bypass windows validation” option and it still downloaded. Did it somehow go ahead and validate my copy of windows? Can’t say…don’t have the expertise to tell, and I don’t really care. But it APPEARS that you can get it without validating. Does it validate when installed? Don’t know and, for the time being, I’m not going to uninstall and re-install it to find out. It works, and it covers areas of security that I was using four applications to manage. Great!

  21. Hmm – I thought I just sent a comment but it seems to have disappeared into the void…
    Recently Microsoft launched the so-called “Genuine software program”. It’s this program
    which is the “gotcha” and then again it is not.
    The ppl who got caught downloading MS AntiSpyware didn’t take the time to read the
    information they got presented in the downloading process – “This download is available to customers running genuine Microsoft Windows. Please click Continue to begin Windows validation” – “Yes, please validate Windows and take me to the download” and more.

    If there is a gotcha here it’s not about bootlegged win os’es, but about ppl not reading the information on their monitor or being daredevils.

    The genuine program has it’s own website, www.microsoft.com/genuine.

  22. You are asked to validate your copy of windows, HOWEVER you have the option of bypassing that validation. I chose to bypass it, simply because I wasn’t in a position to flip my laptop over and type in the Windows key from the sticker thereunder.

    Leo

  23. When I downloaded AntiSpyware, I was given the option to skip the Windows license check before downloading.

  24. MS AntiSpyware is not a “gotcha”. Ppl who say so has mixed up the program with a new
    MS concept named “Genuine Microsoft”. It’s the Genuine Microsoft that’s the “gotcha” and then again not really a “gotcha” for the time being. Users who has a Genuine MS OS will get some nice deals (MSN games for half the price for instance (not that I think it’s a nice deal),
    end then they will be able to download software like MS AntiSpyware before other users.
    Bootleg users will eventually be able to download the concerned software too. My guess is that
    this Genuine-deal will eventually grow into a mega-gotcha, but for now it isn’t as I
    understand it.

    You can read about the Genuine concept here.

  25. I know that when you go to the download link it will ask you if you want to “Validate Windows and obtain the download” – you’ll get one of two options, yes – validate windows and continue to download, and no, just take me to the download. I honestly don’t know if they use the “yes – validate windows as a gotcha” for sure though – but if someone does pirate windows, um…then I assume they would simply click on the “no” button – at least that makes logical sense to me.

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