Microsoft Exec: Piracy No Longer A Threat To Us, Because Pirates Will Get Destroyed By Malware

from the interesting-theory dept

Ok, perhaps the title is a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly appears to be what a Microsoft exec in the Philippines implied in a recent interview concerning Windows 7. Basically, he said that using unauthorized copies of the OS were really unsafe, so doing things like online banking or other sensitive stuff on such software could put users in serious danger. Of course, that makes you wonder what Microsoft has done to make unauthorized copies of the software so dangerous to use…

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Comments on “Microsoft Exec: Piracy No Longer A Threat To Us, Because Pirates Will Get Destroyed By Malware”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“its just MS is having trouble getting it to work on just unauthorized copies :D”

I think Microsoft is having enough trouble getting their operating system to work on authorized copies.

Then again, I got Windows 7 64 bit addition (retard FCC disclosure, got it from my school and they give it to students for free) and it’s pretty stable. I only had one incident where the operating system was crashing but hasn’t crashed otherwise. However, it has some weird issues with VB.Net and software written by it, I either get a runtime error (the application crashes) or the application doesn’t work properly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Microsoft has wisely gone down the road of not permitting pirated copies of their software (particularly operatings systems) to get patches. As Windows XP has plenty of widely reported security holes, anyone who isn’t up to date is very likely to get infected with something at some point.

So Mike, when you “wonder what Microsoft has done to make unauthorized copies of the software so dangerous to use”, the answer is nothing. It’s just the nature of such a large piece of software. There will always be some security issues, and those issues will be exploited by hackers. Unpatched, people are going to be targets for hackers over and over again.

Sorry to burst your moral outrage, but Microsoft isn’t intentionally building bombs into their software.

Dirk Belligerent (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually, you’re the one without the straight facts. M$ banned modded CONSOLES, not XBL accounts. Buy a new Xbox, pop in your profile and get back to honest gaming. I think Kavi was trying to make a lame joke about the RRoD problems the X360 has had. Problem with that is that M$ wasn’t trying to have their units fail because I’m sure they would’ve preferred having the $1.2+ billion dollars spent warrantying for their bagel fund.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You make a very valid point. One would have to assume that the revocation technology demonstrated in XBOX may be included in their OS is an undocumented feature.

Outside of that, It seems odd that an exec overseeing a market in a third world country, with limited financial resources would be so forward with disclosure of such a “non threat”. In countries such as the Philippines, where a Windows 7 license may cost the equivalent of a typical person’s entire months salary, I imagine it will make alternative software ecosystems such as Ubuntu more desirable to mitigate any potential or imagined licensing risks.

Remember when a Russian teacher bought computers for a school and Mikhail Gorbechev had to personally appeal to Bill Gates?

Gaming systems are one thing, but licensing maximalism for OSes can have very different consequences.

tracker1 (profile) says:

Re: Re: WGA

Honestly, I have legit Windows licenses, and WGA has never been an issue for me. There have been a couple instances where the WGA servers weren’t available, that did affect a small handful of people, but that’s actually pretty small.

As much as I dislike WGA in premise, it isn’t that bad, and have a hard time believing it has done anything to slow you down, or interfere with your normal use of the OS.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The way they “prevent” a pirate from downloading patches is by forcing them to authenticate to their servers every single time they want a patch. This douse not prevent anyone from downloading the patch on another PC and installing it on the cracked one. No pirating required.

Assuming that the pirates will be killed by malware is also assuming that they are dumb enough to think that Microsoft is the only place to get security. If they’re smart enough to patch Windows, I think they’re smart enough to get AVG and Zone Alarm.

Aaron Martin-Colby (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I run a pirated XP on one of my desktops. I get all of the security updates. It’s the optional stuff and extra programs I don’t get.

Microsoft has a vested interest in keeping even illegitimate computers safe. Every Windows box is a potential window, pun unintended, into OTHER Windows boxes.

This rep needs to get his facts straight. All Windows everywhere are equally safe. Unless he’s talking about Windows Defender in Vista. My Vista copy is legit, so I’m unsure if everyone gets Defender stuff.

Zilk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Wait a second. It is the very bad coding that allows these security holes that are exploited by other code. For to long Microsoft has had a nice little word that places the blame on others. “Viruses” are examples of code that exploit bad code from Microsoft. What happens if someone doesn’t pass WGA but still has a legitimate copy? They get the pleasure of suffering the mistakes Microsoft made.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Microsoft has wisely gone down the road of not permitting pirated copies of their software (particularly operatings systems) to get patches.”

I would be interested in a source to back this up. If there is some facility beyond WGA to deny updates then it does not work. WGA isn’t needed for a functional or up to date system btw.

Dest says:

I fail to see the wisdom

How is it wise to deny security updates out of spitefulness to users of pirated software when those machines will eventually become a component in a vast army of zombie machines attacking other Window machines on the internet.
Sure Microsoft can snicker about it and say it serves them right but it also wrecks havoc on the entire internet.
And do you think that business are going to blame the pirates for the trouble?
No, they are going to blame the Windows operating system and Microsoft for letting it happen.
Very short sighted on the part of Microsoft because they are the ones who initially created the problem by acting like drug pushers and actually encouraging people to pirate their software to the point that people have now become (in the words of Bill Gates) “addicted” to it.
I certainly don’t condone the piracy but when you look at the big picture form an objective perspective it was Microsoft who created the problem in the first place.

Dest says:

Re: Re: I fail to see the wisdom

“As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted”
~Bill Gates~ 1998

I am not going to look up the articles and provide links again because some people are too lazy to find the information themselves.
The apologists just deny it anyway no matter how much evidence there is to support the claim so there is no point in providing the evidence every time someone asks for proof.
Sorry, you have to do the research for yourself.
You will have to pay me if you want me to do it for you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I fail to see the wisdom

The bottom of page one and most of page three address your question. Basically it comes down to “if they can’t pay for software, we want them to steal ours instead of the other guy’s. That way when they can pay for it guess who’s software they’ll be most familiar with/most likely to buy.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Sorry to laugh at all the people who think that pirated copies are somehow less then the legal copy… But… hahahahahahahahaahahahahahaha

They took the entire freaking OS and fooled the online checks to see if you have a legal copy. So as far as a microsoft server is concerned your copy is legal. Sure they figure out a way to go “Hey you aren’t legal at all!” then 24 hours later some hacker goes “Ok everyone, run this and we are good to go again.”

Also there are antivirus antimalware antiWHATEVERware out there. Microsoft updates aren’t the first or last line of defense and getting a microsoft update a bit late is unlikely to cause heartburn.

Anonymous Coward says:

Even I figured out that not allowing security updates to unlicensed copies would make them vulnerable several months ago. You don’t have to be an MSFT executive to figure this out. Maybe some people need to be hit over the head with that fact though.

I do agree with “$10 guy” that MSFT may be allowing a giant bot to be created by failing to support their “ecosystem” of software.

Botnet = Skynet? Time will tell.

Anonymous Coward says:

As a peak out from under my tin foil hate I whisper into the blackness that is the Windows 7 black screen of death…
“MS pirate division covertly implements security holes then sells the issue to hackers… then they adjusts them via updates then re-sell issues to hackers” MS wins both ways… they make money off the hackers and the hacker screw up un-licensed versions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Malware as a DoS threat...? Is there an app for that... Yet?

If any malware, regardless of source, has the ability to cause “black screens” and ultimately prevent access to data, it could present an increase of several magnitude to the total cost of ownership. Additional IT Staff, or backup hardware may be needed to offset the risk of Mary in Accounting opening a forwarded attachment.

Right now, it seems somewhat contained, but recognize it for what it is. It’s a new DoS threat, and unfortunately, it will probably be further exploited.

spaceman spiff says:

Windows as a virus

My own opinion is that ALL MS Windows versions are viruses themselves. Unfortunately, most of us are forced to use it. In my case, I have two applications I need for my professional life that only run in Windows, so I have XP on my laptop (as a separate boot drive – I also have an Ubuntu system disc I prefer to use on it). I don’t get Windows updates. I don’t get viruses or other malware because I ONLY run those 2 applications, and if I need a browser to download some data or such I use Firefox. I keep my applications updated and NEVER use IE. If I need to view/edit MS Office files, I use OOo. In any case, I don’t use the Windows firewall unless I have to connect to a public WiFi access point when running Windows (normally I use a Sprint wireless modem when on the road for internet access). I do run ClamWin and run AV scans on a regular basis, just for due diligence, but I haven’t had a virus or other malware infection on any of my systems in about 10 years.

One final note. I have had attempts to infect my system via email attachments sent to me by friends and family because their systems were infected. None got past my email virus scanners (3 different systems scan all my email) and since I don’t use IE and I keep my Firefox updated, I don’t get “drive-by” infections either. In any case, I only use Firefox on Windows to get software updates and such. 99%+ of my browsing is on Linux systems so the chances of an infection are much, much lower than for a Windows OS.

Daniel says:

One of the biggest things he might be talking about is that hackers (not the people who break into internet sites) are getting into the OS code and changing it around to release “alternative” editions (their own editions). Some of these ‘releases’ include all of the hotfixes and service packs, while others even offer software from other companies. I remember seeing one a while back that was actually Windows XP with the explorer.exe completely changed to another shell, and the DVDs included loads of software that were definitely pirated (Adobe, Microsoft, etc.). The ‘release’ I saw in question was 3 DVDs and it installed like a professional OS. These releases could have small programs installed that affect OS security. That’s probably what the exec is talking about.

As an avid user of Linux, I tend to stand on the opensource side of the argument. I don’t believe in downloading software I didn’t pay for. But there are loads of people out there that would download that ‘release’.

One other thing to point out, most software is downloaded just to have it. I read posts from guys that download 100s of gigs every day, burn programs to CDs or DVDs, and then throw them into spindles; never to use them again. Most downloaders won’t use that latest and greatest version of Maya 2010. They’ll most likely download and store it until the time comes that they need more room and end up throwing out boxes of software that’s 10 years old.

Benjie says:


“Tell that to the people whose xBoxes were shorted out by Microsoft. It’s like a mini bomb exploding and deactivating your hardware.”

MS is just exercising their right to enforce their EULA. If you want to hack your xBox, be ready to have your account deactivated. This is the nature of any service based system.

MS is providing a service with the understanding that you abide by their rules. Might analogize it to gold farmers in WoW. Don’t like it, suck it up and move on.

R. Miles (profile) says:

Piracy No Longer A Threat To Us

But it’s still a threat to the rest of us who actually pay, Microsoft.

Or does it not strike you as odd that the DRM shit you place in your software has an adverse impact on us paying customers when it goes horribly, horribly wrong?

Take WGA, as an example. If it fails, the data is lost. Forever. By your own admission at that. My PC wasn’t infected nor was it compromised. It simply didn’t get along with a Norton update and because the software failed to pass WGA, I got screwed.

I can assure you, Microsoft, if this ever happens to me again, I’ll also become a pirate of your operating system.

I don’t pay to have my data wiped out without warning by doing what the hell I’m supposed to.

Thus, the idol threads that “malware will get you, matey!” is bullshit. Pirated software users seem to be lucky in the fact they don’t present the significant problems paying customers do.

Which is interesting in itself coming from a company that gives more software away than any other company on earth. So why the hell not the OS?

It’s not as though it’s a new damn application. It’s just a prettier version of the last.

Sorry for the rant. Things like this just piss me off.

alex says:

go online to activate???

Since when did you all think one HAS to go online to activate. you cannot pirate windows that way because that requires the use of a key that can only be used on one computer. if there is any way to do it it would be with a BIOS Emulating Bootloader. that way your computer thinks that it is oem and does not go online to activate, meaning WGA does not get in your way and you still get updates. and R. miles, WHY WERE YOU USING NORTON????? you should never use norton. it always screws something up.

R. Miles (profile) says:

Re: go online to activate???

“and R. miles, WHY WERE YOU USING NORTON?????”
It was bundled with the new PC I just bought.
Ironically, it was my working to flush the system with all the crap Dell installed on their machine (including Norton).

But I patched XP before I started to remove the software, and WGA freaked Norton out, which prevented WGA from “ensuring my copy of Windows was legal”.


Believe me, with 6 hours total to both parties for customer support, you can bet I’ll never use Norton again.

If it wasn’t for the software I use, I wouldn’t be using Windows, either.

icky says:

It’s true, yet interesting, that Microsoft doesn’t let pirated copies of Windows get the security updates. Why? Because it can’t last forever. Those “unupdateable” copies of Windows not only endanger their owners’ data but also other user’s data after becoming infested with malware. They, and thereby Microsoft by it’s actions and inactions, contribute to the damage done to innocent parties.

Imagine the shopkeeper who boobytraps his property to protect against criminals. He’s usually found liable when a criminal is harmed, and certainly when an innocent is. Imagine the shopkeeper who leaves the floor in an employees only room wet because he’s the only one there. If a customer finds his way in there and falls, guess who gets fined or sued. Think of good samaritan laws too, and laws that require one to mitigate damages.

How long before some enterprising law firm combines all these and find a valid reason for a, possibly successful, class action suit on behalf of all windows users?

eMike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

With XP they actually did a decent job with blocking updates. This lasted a very short time, then they realized it was a really bad idea so they allowed security updates to be pushed out automatically. Other updates, non-critical/non-security updates, and everything in Windows Update (Microsoft Update now) was blocked from machines that failed WGA.

The current hack exploits a back door they built in to Vista/7 for OEM distributors. These machines have no keys, and no need for them if they have the right OEM BIOS. The new crack exploits this by spoofing those OEM BIOSes and making Windows think the machine has a valid OEM license. Thus they always validate through WGA since the keys aren’t checked, the BIOS is.

Anonymous Coward says:

“They should frigging pay me for using Windows and advertising their product.” — advertising … to whom? Other home users? The ones you advocate ought to have the product for less-than-free? No revenue there. NEGATIVE revenue there.

It’s not like Dupont walks into your house and says, “Hey, this guy Bob is using Windows. DAMN, that’s a fine idea! We ought to use Windows, because Bob is using Windows! Call the IT guys! I’ll bet they’ve never heard of this WINDOWS thing!”

Bruno says:

Re: Re:

My friend, we are coming to a point where every single person works with the help of a coputer.
One would think that a business would love to use a system that everybody is already used to.
Microsoft would get their revenue from business buying their OS.
It already gets most of its revenue from companies, mostly OS and Office.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

It’s not like pirates can mod their copies of Vista or Windows 7 and activate them regardless of any WGA. Or add some sort of loader in their boot sector to pretend their computers are OEM mass-licensed equipment such as Dell or Acer laptops that don’t need activation, or actually flash the BIOS of the machines so that for all intents and purposes they tell Microsoft that they are one of said OEM computers with OEM serial numbers that are shared across all computers of the same brand. And then use Microsoft Update to get the latest updates.

Luckily, people won’t be able to do any of that to their unauthorized copies. It seems that Microsoft has finally defeated piracy.

Compare it to other stuff says:

“Put Windows 7 at 60 bucks and I will buy it! MS has driven piracy through greed. Stop complaining, drop the price and you will sell more, its pretty simple!!”

XP lasted about 8 years. So, assume 5 years for an OS

$160 spread over 5 years is ~$0.09 per day. I bet you can find the money somewhere.

If you don’t have the $$ right now to purchase it, ma’b you should’ve been saving 1 dime per day from your change since XP came out.. you’d be set.

Bubo Sibiricus (profile) says:

Don't Pirate Software.

he said that using unauthorized copies of the OS were really unsafe, so doing things like online banking or other sensitive stuff on such software could put users in serious danger.

He’s right.

But the real reason not to pirate software is that it distorts the market by locking out alternatives in favor of the incumbents. We all know what Bill Gates said about piracy 10 years ago – “as long as they’re going to steal it we want them to steal ours.”

Make no mistake. Microsoft can make WGA bulletproof. They won’t, though, and that’s the reason why. The last thing they want you doing is using Linux

The day that Microsoft turns the WGA knob to 11, I will throw a Linux party.


Mikey (profile) says:

Piracy No Longer A Threat To Us

A comment made from an Exec. working for Microslop in the Philippines, where 95% of all software, Windows included, is pirated. The Philippines, as well as China and other Asian countries are seriously poor and the average person cannot afford to pay for their warez, but need them for their work.

As for users with pirated copies of Windows not being given access to updates and security patches, is so far from the truth, it’s not funny!! Getting by the WGA is very easy to do and has been done since the beginning of Windows!
Bugs, malware, spyware and other nasties affect legit users of Windows just as much as the illegal users, so this MS Executive from the Philippines is really full of crap!!

Midnight (profile) says:

Microsoft Exec: Piracy No Longer A Threat To Us

Yea right! MS’s software is so buggy, nobody in their right mind would want to pay for it and considering that the majority of all software where this Microsoft Executive lives and works, is pirated, well that says it all.

Properly patched, Any version of Windows will get patches and updates, so what’s all the fuss about?

Orlin says:

I am the only one, who believes, that some unauthorised copies will probably come with pre-installed mall ware/viruses, etc?

And from most of the comments, I can understand that most of the people here are not that familiar with software security. Saying that some software is less/more secure that some other is actually an error, since there is no reliable metric with which you can how secure a program is.
And even the most secure program has at least a few security bugs every thousand lines of code. Once such an error is found, it’s all over.
As Windows is the most widely used OS currently, so do most hackers (or to use the write term: crackers) focus on it. Even a linux based system (with selinux), or a bsd would fall when put under so much pressure.
There isn’t alot to say about Mac os X and security, since they have no touching points. (I know that the pwn to own contest is not the best metric, yet it is still better then the apple

ps: I am not a MS employee, nor a MS fanboy don’t use MS products. I do use Gentoo Linux and almost only open source programs. Still I believe that there should be some objectivity.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“I am the only one, who believes, that some unauthorised copies will probably come with pre-installed mall ware/viruses, etc?”

Very likely but such things are easy to mitigate should they become a noticeable problem. Even the public file sharing communities could use various methods for assuring the integrity of the products being shared, if they felt the need.

TD52 says:

well the OS is always been over priced and most of the time it does not work
and for the Pirates ( MS ) claims has done more good for there OS then they could have ever done
the PPl with copy’s of the OS have made it better and got rid of the waste and made it run better
They have also found the holes that can be use to make the OS vulnerable to attack
The have also made a lot of money from sales because of the copies that are out there that ppl have seen and wanted to get with there new system they bought because of it
And also one can unlock Windows 7 with a simple removal of a very simple code and then the ppl with code to get by the validation to make it look real and get updates and stop them from taking over your OS and making it useless
But I have a real version of the OS and it was hit with there updates to get Pirates and had to go to Dell to get it fixed .. MS may put out the code .. but if you did not buy a copy off the shelf from them and got yours from the manufacturer you have to go to them to get it going again

ttx (user link) says:

windows 7

i am sorry that is so full of crap microsoft has lied again and again they a break the law the update your computer with out you knowing it and hackers call it heaven there is no stopping Malware in vista or windows 7 that is vista 7 and they will to you. you can get windows 7 ultimate for 9.95 plus ship i paid it and they said they have all of the paper work to this day no windows 7 ultimate no cd or dvd in the mail and now when i call they say we lost the paper work so i sent it again and again again so they have lied and take my money

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