Following the successful trial of the previously voluntary ‘Windows Genuine Advantage’ scheme, Microsoft is now requiring all users of its software to validate its authenticity before they receive updates.
The system works by importing a scanning program to check the authenticity of the installed Microsoft operating system. Users of counterfeit software are offered the opportunity either to buy a genuine copy of the operating system, after completion of Microsoft’s ‘piracy report’, or to send to Microsoft their disks and receipt together with a piracy report. Microsoft may, at its discretion, supply a free copy of the Windows operating system in such circumstances.
In an effort to combat the multi-billion dollar software piracy industry, Microsoft recently started lawsuits against eight US retailers for losses due to the sale of pirated software.
Microsoft is currently offering a test (‘beta’) version of its anti-spyware program free from its website. Use of defences against spyware, adware etc. is recommended, if for no other reason than the presence of spyware typically makes the Internet slower to use. Firewalls and anti-virus solutions do not combat spyware.
Security patches to limit the risk of viruses, Trojan horses and the like will continue to be provided without a necessity to validate software.
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