Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Vista Already Cracked!

Less than two months after Vista's release to the public, the pirating group known as Pantheon has produced a crack that actually takes advantage of OEM licensing that's embedded in the OS. These "royalty OEM" licenses, which normally come preinstalled on OEM machines like HP, don't have to 'phone home' to Microsoft to activate, so that end users wouldn't be inconvienienced.

How this works is simple: major OEM manufacturers like ASUS, Lenovo, Toshiba, HP, and have a specific version of Vista (which undoubtedly, is available on p2p networks and the like) installed on thier machines. This version of Vista will only work on systems with a specifc hardware driver that corresponds to a specic OEM key already embedded in the OS. All a potential pirate would have to do is emulate that driver and viola! The pirate doesn't even need an OEM machine, he can build his own, download the crack, and emulate a specific driver to trick Vista. Now the user now has a 'legitimate' copy of Vista running and online, and Microsoft has no idea.

The funny thing is, Vista was supposed to be bullet-proof (and so was XP for the matter) Because supposedly, users were to be forced to activate online, there would be no way to crack it. However, since some OEM machines don't have to activate online, there is a weakness. Wheter Microsoft will do anything about this is unknown. There is probably a good number of machines, both legit and bootleg that are running this version of Vista. The only thing that could possibly be done is to shutout machines tied to the serials that apply to this version, but what would happen to legitimate customers of ASUS, Lenovo, HP and others with the same serials?

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