Vista Activation Cracked By Brute Force

Thanks to voidunknown for submitting this to the Front Page.

It appears that Keznews forum member Computer User has discovered a method that effectively obtains a Windows Vista key which can then be activated. The idea is a simple brute force attack: the software generates keys and when it finds one, you manually have to check if it activates. The 8-step method can take anywhere from two minutes to two days. Members of the forum have verified the strategy and claim it works. This technique should worry Microsoft, not because they are losing customers to piracy again, but because the customers who are actually spending the money on the latest Windows version may start being unable to activate the software with a legally purchased key. It seems that the main issue is time, and with today's modern PCs, it really isn't that much of a problem. Evidently, pirates would rather wait a couple of hours, than go to work and make the money needed to purchase a legal copy. The author of the article over at Keznews has a disclaimer which emphasizes that, "under no circumstances should anyone sell the key that they generate. I do not support Piracy, this was simply an experiment in which i used to practice my vbscripting. This was just for fun and was a complete accident! I strongly encourage everyone to purchase windows vista, and be a genuine customer!"

That hasn't stopped him from offering his crack as a public download.

Link: Forum Discussion
News source: the Inquirer

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41 Comments

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I'm glad Microsoft has another pain in the ass problem to solve. They sure made a pain in the ass for everyone else. Hey did you ever see them offering sales for any of their softeware? lol Never. They are greedy *******

It's dumb. I followed the conversation from the beginning on their forum, and it has a lot of problems.

If he wanted to do a real keygen, he should've found the dll that checks the key, then use a little reverse engineering (already done for XP Keys - should be the same) to compute keys for Ultimate, Business or whatever. It worked at the time with that XP Bruteforce Keygen which took a long time.

It's not fake, it would just take too long to be practically feasible. To guess 25-digit keys at random when the valid keyspace is unknown is just plain silly.

In theory, the "crack" will work. In time, people will learn more about the product-key algorithm, and that might help people guess keys. But it's not likely to happen any time soon.

Where there is a will, there will be a way.

Look for activation for the next version of Windows to tie into your credit card or something, the lengths that microsoft will do to curve piracy.

It's kind of funny to hear that this actually works, but I think it's not that bad of a step. Screw activation. I hate it. Even with my legal key, I have to reactivate all the time. Now I have to do it the old fashioned telephone way, as well, because my key has been 'activated too many times' or whatever.

I read this on the Inq yesterday. Way to go!

are you sure you read and understand how this works? from what i getting from your post, you dont understand....

When someone installs Vista without a key they choose which version they "purchased". They would pick Vista Ultimate and then put in thier key later - if the key that was discovered was for basic then it wouldn't work!

accident my a** lol
why the freck do u release it then... bastar*
i mean... if i find a way of creating a virus and dont want it to leak, i will not distribute it myself.
what a bad excuse

Glassed Silver:mac

Any form of anti-piracy technology is a waste of time and money. It will always be circumvented eventually. Its not a matter of if, but of when.

This is a REALLY BAD form of piracy that can/will affect CUSTOMERS, not only a possible loss in sale for MS. REALLY BAD piracy is piracy that affects not only the company selling the product, it also affects the customers that actually paid for the software in negative ways. It's no better than stealing other peoples credit cards instead of robbing the bank directly.

Evidently, pirates would rather wait a couple of hours, than go to work and make the money needed to purchase a legal copy

something strange about this statement 8)

yeah in a way it implies they are at home bludging. In reality most are active at work or something and could afford the OS but just dont want to pay for it.

This "key generator" is useless for people looking for a quick activation. It can take hours, or even days to get a useful key.

i just read a chinese site about a new hack. it also uses oem method without flash bios. the idea is to load modified bios into memory before boot. screens shots shows it works.

I feel this is the begining of the end of activation. If this gets out really wide spread Microsoft will have a really hard time with all the of this. This totally screws Oem customers out of vista if they dont get a chance to enter the key first. I still think the bulk of all these issues could have been avoided years ago had they kept their prices lower and not gotten to this point where we pay $400 for windows. It is true that pirates would still pirate it but you would get less folks switching to piracy because they feel the cost of windows is outrageous.

People would pirate it anyway...I'm pretty sure MS has done their research here and have set prices that meet their requirements.

hell you can buy music for $1 a track but that hasn't stopped music piracy. In the end of the day many users would pirate it regardless of the cost.

Nice to know that $1 a track is cheap for you. It should be a buck a cd. $1 a track is worse than CD prices. For godssakes

ciaran00 said,
Nice to know that $1 a track is cheap for you. It should be a buck a cd. $1 a track is worse than CD prices. For godssakes
if you say so. For something thats a luxory however I find it quite reasonable and ANYONE can afford it.

I do not support Piracy, this was simply an experiment in which i used to practice my vbscripting. This was just for fun and was a complete accident!

Yeah sounds completely like an accident to me....

lots of genuine customers are going to be upset when their key doesnt work ... good job microsoft lol

Not really... I don't thing there's a high chance that a key that takes you day to generate already exists. How many million of different keys are there?

Uhuh. And how long will it take for Microsoft to limit invalid key attempts over a period of time? A day or two?

That's not a crack, and it's barely even a cheat. Brute force doesn't work when it's so easy for Microsoft to put a bigger guard at the door.

it checks for keys offline then if it works u can try to activate... i dont think microsoft can do much except an update to change the way wpa2 works

not exactly a crack is it? thats like saying online games are cracked as pirates can just keep changing keys till one works

"That hasn’t stopped him from offering his crack as a public download."

...lol, so I assume he wants to have a huge lawsuit on his hands? Thats just stupid.

Aleck79 said,
"That hasn’t stopped him from offering his crack as a public download."

...lol, so I assume he wants to have a huge lawsuit on his hands? Thats just stupid.


You say it like they do anything about the tons of other cracks out there, like rearms/time stoppers.