Despite the fact that Windows Vista was not sent barefoot into the world as was the case with Windows XP, and instead came packed with antipiracy mitigations from an intimate connection with the Windows genuine Advantage mechanism to the Reduced Functionality Mode kill switch, cracks for the operating system were not uncommon. In fact, one Windows Vista activation workaround, the 2099 Grace Timer crack was around even before the platform hit the shelves at the end of January 2007.
Microsoft, through Alex Kochis, Senior Product Manager for Windows Genuine Advantage, promised
as early as the first days of January 2007 to deal with 2099 Grace Timer crack. And later on the past year, Microsoft also set sight on the OEM BIOS crack designed to fool Vista into thinking that it was a valid OEM installation. In December 2007, Mike Sievert, Corporate Vice President, Windows Product Marketing, revealed that Vista SP1 would kill both the 2099 Grace Timer crack and the OEM BIOS workaround
, as well as the Reduced Functionality Mode kill switch.
But there are always other illegal solutions to activating Windows Vista SP1
. And Sunbelt Software revealed that one of the worst is the focus of a spam campaign. Unsolicited emails with the message subject "Microsoft Vista SP1 and XP cracked is" are pushing what appears to be a fresh crack for Vista SP1. However, in fact users are the targets of a social engineering scam designed to compromise systems with malware.
"Yes, it's a ridiculous spam, but the malware it delivers is a rather nasty spambot. This is a very hard-to-remove spambot (full kernel malware), capitalizing on recent news events. Uses a redirect through Google (quite common these days) to deliver the user to the malware site. The initial payload is a trojan downloader, which then pulls down the spambot, which we label as Trojan.Crypt.XPACK.Gen," revealed Alex Eckelberry
, president and CEO of Clearwater-based Sunbelt Software.