Microsoft is to crack down on users running pirated versions of its operating system. While the company will still allow users to download security fixes, their options will be limited in the future. There are fears it could leave many extra computers open to attack if not all fixes are distributed and downloaded by most users.
The company's new authentication system - Windows Genuine Advantage - is due to be in place by the middle of the year. The program requires users to prove they have an authentic copy before they can obtain updates. Pirated copies will still be able to download security fixes, but only if the systems are set to do so automatically.
Microsoft insists it doesn't have any plans to make sure automatic update users are genuine - the checks will only be carried out on those manually visiting the Windows Update site. Russ Cooper, a senior scientist with Cybertrust Inc, warned that he eventually expected Microsoft to cut off access to all fixes for pirated copies. "The reality is that shareholders of Microsoft would like to see them get all the money they are owed," he said.
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