Contents tagged with Piracy

  • Counterfeit Software on the Rise, Poses New Risks to Consumers

    Posted by bink on December 4 2009, 2:36 PM. Posted in Piracy.

    Q&A: David Finn, Microsoft’s anti-piracy enforcement chief, discusses consumer risks and how to take action if counterfeit software lands on your computer.

    Consumer reports of counterfeit software, often riddled with viruses, have doubled over the past two years, and today Microsoft is holding a Consumer Action Day to highlight the risks of counterfeits and connect people with resources that can help them.

    Most digital anti-piracy actions are driven by consumers, in cooperation with Microsoft and regional law enforcement agencies.

    As head of global anti-piracy enforcement for Microsoft, David Finn leads a team of lawyers, paralegals, investigators and forensic specialists working with governments, businesses, partners and customers to ensure that people are protected from the perils of non-genuine software.

    PressPass spoke with Finn leading up to today’s event to talk about the consumer risks of counterfeit software, and how a new wave of sophisticated cybercrime is motivating more people to take action against counterfeiters.

    PressPass: What is Consumer Action Day all about? Why are you doing this?

    Finn: During the past two years, consumer reports of counterfeit software, often containing malware and viruses, have doubled to more than 150,000. These are voluntary reports from people who have come to us via online Web sites, such as How to Tell, with powerful stories about the problems they’ve encountered with counterfeit software.

    We’re seeing some sophisticated scams today, and consumers need to know, No. 1, there’s a serious risk to using counterfeit software, and No. 2, they don’t need to take it. Microsoft will help them. Consumer Action Day helps gets the word out and then backs it up with hundreds of educational and enforcement initiatives around the world — all aimed at protecting consumers.

    PressPass: Do consumers really buy into the idea that counterfeit software puts them at risk?

    Finn: Absolutely. More and more consumers believe they are at risk if they buy or use counterfeit software, and you know what? They’re right to be concerned.

    Today it is all too common for software pirates to tamper with genuine code. Yet this can easily go unnoticed by the average software user. Indeed, the fact that you can’t see what is being added or removed by pirates underscores the insidiousness of the problem. Think about it — why wouldn’t a criminal syndicate that manufactures counterfeit software merely add a few lines of malicious code in order to compromise the security of your computer and victimize you a second time by stealing your identity or personal information?

    Sophisticated packaging makes it difficult to distinguish the genuine product (right) from the counterfeit (left).

    Sophisticated packaging makes it difficult to distinguish the genuine product (right) from the counterfeit (left).

    Click for high-res version.

    Having said that, we know a lot of people still think of software counterfeiting as a victimless crime. Yet I think we’ve hit a tipping point. The sheer increase in the rate of counterfeit software reports is remarkable. In fact, of the cases announced today, an overwhelming majority were the direct result of consumer reports. To file a report, which is completely voluntary, you need to fill out a Web form and provide some detailed information. Given how precious people’s time is, we know you have to be pretty mad to take the time to do that. And we’ve had 150,000 people around the world submit these reports in the past two years.

    So there is just no question about it. Consumers are increasingly recognizing the reality: Counterfeit software puts them at risk. And people are seeing that friends and family members are struggling with the harm inflicted by counterfeit software: viruses, identity theft, lost time and productivity, lost business and financial data, you name it.

    Continue: Counterfeit Software on the Rise, Poses New Risks to Consumers Q&A David Finn, Microsoft’s anti-

    See Also: Microsoft and Consumers Take Action Against Global Software Piracy Initiatives to protect consum

  • China jails Microsoft counterfeiters

    Posted by spy on January 2 2009, 12:05 PM. Posted in Piracy.

    A Chinese court has issued tough sentences to members of a huge software counterfeiting ring, which distributed more than $US2 billion ($A3 billion) worth of fake Microsoft goods, the company said.

    The court in the southern city of Shenzhen on Wednesday sentenced 11 people to jail terms of up to six-and-a-half years for making high-quality counterfeit software that was sold in 36 countries, Microsoft said in a statement.

    The sentences were the "stiffest ever meted out for intellectual property rights violations in China", said a report on the verdicts by the popular Chinese internet portal

    The illegal syndicate, based in the southern province of Guangdong, pirated versions of 19 of the company's most popular products, which were produced in at least 11 languages, Microsoft said in its statement posted on Wednesday.

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  • Microsoft Growth May Slow as Software Pirates Curb China Sales

    Posted by bink on July 17 2008, 6:16 PM. Posted in Piracy.

    Microsoft Corp.'s profit growth may be stunted this year by a resurgence of software piracy in China, the second-biggest personal-computer market after the U.S.

    More than 8 out of 10 pieces of software in use are copied illegally in China, and money lost to piracy worldwide will increase this year, IDC, the Framingham, Massachusetts-based technology researcher, said. Efforts to combat the distribution of unauthorized applications had a setback this year, Microsoft said in April.

    Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer touted a drop in traffic in bootleg Windows and Office applications in earnings statements during the first half of the fiscal year that ended June 30. An unexpected jump in piracy caused Windows sales to miss estimates by $300 million in the third quarter, UBS AG analyst Heather Bellini said in April.

    ``I was surprised that it could swing that much to the downside in a single quarter from what had been cited as a big positive in the first half of the fiscal year,'' said Tony Ursillo, a Boston-based analyst at Loomis Sayles & Co.

    Microsoft may cut its forecast for the year that started this month when it reports fourth-quarter earnings today, partly because of the piracy problem, Ursillo said. Marketing of illicit copies of the software is heightening the pressure from slowing U.S. growth and an increase in sales of lower-priced software versions, he said.

    `Tough Battle'

    The company still gets two-thirds of its sales in the U.S., and piracy has spurred Microsoft to increase offices and staff in emerging markets as a way to combat illegal software, Ballmer said in February.

    Microsoft declined to comment on efforts to fight piracy. Spokeswoman Kristin Widing said the company's software is pirated at about the same rate as the overall industry.

    ``The rate of growth of new PCs in markets where we either have lower prices and/or higher piracy is really quite dramatic versus developed markets, and not likely to change in the next few years,'' Ballmer said at the financial analyst meeting last year.

    More than half of all software sold outside of Western Europe and North America is an unauthorized copy, said IDC and the Business Software Alliance, a Washington trade group pushing copyright enforcement.

    Ballmer also is coping with investor concern that he lacks an effective Internet strategy after six months of on-and-off talks to buy all or part of online search company Yahoo! Inc. Loomis, which now owns 1.43 million shares, sold more than 11 million shares as of March 31 because managers were ``uneasy'' about the potential Yahoo acquisition, Ursillo said in an e-mail.

    $1 Vista

    Profit probably rose 47 percent to $4.46 billion, or 47 cents a share, in the fourth quarter ended June 30, according to the average of 17 analysts' estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Sales may have gained 17 percent to $15.6 billion.

    Revenue from Windows rose about 8.7 percent to $4.14 billion, meeting Microsoft's estimates, RBC Capital Markets analyst Robert Breza in Minneapolis said. The Microsoft unit that sells Windows accounts for about 30 percent of total sales.

    Microsoft rose $1.11 to $27.26 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading yesterday. The shares have dropped 23 percent this year, more than the 14 percent decline in the Standard & Poor's 500 Information Technology Index. The stock sank 6.2 percent after the last earnings report on April 24.

    In Shanghai, copies of Windows Vista and Office sell for less than $1 at a shop in the downtown Xuihui district, just outside the campus of Shanghai Jiaotong University. Cardboard boxes full of DVDs and CDs wrapped in paper and plastic sleeves printed with Microsoft, Adobe Systems Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc. logos sit on tables for shoppers to browse.

    FBI Probe

    ``The reason I buy pirated software is price,'' said Chen Ming, 26, who works at a real estate agency. ``The quality may not be as good. You get a lot of discs that don't work, but even then it's still much cheaper.''

    Piracy in China and smaller countries such as Cambodia, Brunei and Bhutan cost the industry $47.8 billion worldwide last year. Breza estimates that 38 percent of all software sold this year will be pirated versions. The piracy rate is the highest in Armenia, at 93 percent.

    Ballmer, 52, made gains against pirates by working with local officials, encouraging PC makers to sell computers with legal software already installed, and letting illegal software users exchange their copies for genuine ones at no charge.

    In 2007, the company helped the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Chinese government expose a counterfeiting ring that had distributed more than $2 billion in illegally copied Microsoft software.

    Old Problem

    ``Some investors thought that the successes that they had the last couple quarters against piracy were going to be a permanent feature in the landscape,'' said Brent Williams, a New York-based analyst at Benchmark Co. who advises investors to hold Microsoft shares and doesn't own any. ``You don't just do deals once and they go forever. It takes a lot of cultural change.''

    Microsoft has grappled with piracy since its foundation. Gates wrote a letter to programming hobbyists in 1976, a year after the company started, asking them to stop making illegal copies of software for its Basic programming language.

    ``Who can afford to do professional work for nothing?'' Gates wrote.

  • Microsoft points piracy finger at children

    Posted by bink on July 15 2008, 6:19 PM. Posted in Piracy.

    Microsoft piracy experts tell patents to tell their kids to behave themselves when they are online

    New research released by Microsoft today suggests that the UK is a nation of unrepentant pirates, who know what they are doing is wrong but just do not care.

    Microsoft warned that when downloading copy written material internet users run the risk of installing spyware, and explained that downloads from file-sharing sites are more than twice as likely to contain such malicious attachments. These in turn, it explained, pave the way for data loss, ID theft and viruses.

    Much of the blame for piracy is placed at the feet of the young, who are accused of being street savvy, but not tech savvy. This disconnect is blamed for their tendency to download files that could be malicious, and for opening up home PCs, which could be used by flexible workers, to the risk of infection.

    Michala Wardell, head of anti-piracy at Microsoft in the UK, said that parents should do more to protect both their home computers, and their children.

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  • Microsoft Anti-Piracy Approach Evolves to Meet Ongoing Threat

    Posted by vasudev on December 4 2007, 1:09 PM. Posted in Piracy.

     As part of a comprehensive effort to address piracy of its products, Microsoft today announced that the company will increase efforts against piracy and outlined new steps being taken to protect Windows Vista from ongoing and known counterfeiting threats. The upcoming Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) will include updates that target and disable two types of known exploits to the Windows Vista activation process. Also, as part of SP1, the company is making changes in how it differentiates user experiences for genuine and counterfeit systems based on feedback from customers and partners.

    To learn more about what Microsoft is doing to address the challenge of software piracy and how the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program is evolving, PressPass spoke with Mike Sievert, Corporate Vice President, Windows Product Marketing.

    PressPass: What kind of progress has the company made against software piracy? How big a problem is it for Microsoft and the industry as a whole?

    Sievert: While we’ve made some progress, piracy remains an ongoing problem that faces most industries with strong intellectual property components, and is particularly severe for us, our customers and partners. Software pirates are becoming more sophisticated – not just with their ability to produce high-quality fakes, but in their distribution systems and international reach. Research from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) estimates that annually, 35 percent of software in use worldwide is not paid for, and in certain countries that rate can top 80 percent.

    We have to address this. We have a responsibility to our shareholders, partners and customers to promote legal use of our products.

    The good news is we are starting to see some progress. This past quarter, we reported that about five percent of Windows desktop OEM revenue growth was attributable to piracy declines. In the last year alone, we have pursued legal action against more than 1,000 dealers of counterfeit Microsoft products, taken down more than 50,000 illegal and improper online software auctions and reached out with our “How to Tell” and anti-piracy focused educational Web sites to millions of customers. While piracy rates are hard to measure precisely, we’re seeing indications from internal metrics, like WGA validation failures, that the Windows Vista piracy rate is less than half that of Windows XP today.

    PressPass: What are the latest piracy threats that you see today to Windows Vista, and what are you doing about it?

    Sievert: We know that Windows Vista is a lot harder to counterfeit than Windows XP, but we also know that pirates will keep trying. We currently see two primary types of exploits pirates often use to generate counterfeit versions of Windows Vista. One is known as the OEM Bios exploit, which involves modifying system files and the BIOS of the motherboard to mimic a type of product activation performed on copies of Windows that are pre-installed by OEMs in the factory. Another is called the Grace Timer exploit. This exploit attempts to reset the “grace time” limit between installation and activation to something like the year 2099 in some cases.  Implementing exploits involves extreme alterations to key system components and can seriously affect system stability. 

    So we are taking action. SP1 will include updates that will target those exploits and disable them.

    PressPass: What will happen to systems which have those exploits?

    Sievert: Although our overall strategy remains the same, with SP1 we’re adjusting the customer experience that differentiates genuine from non-genuine systems in Windows Vista and later in Windows Server. Users whose systems are identified as counterfeit will be presented with clear and recurring notices about the status of their system and how to get genuine. They won’t lose access to functionality or features, but it will be very clear to them that their copy of Window Vista is not genuine and they need to take action.

    This is a change in tactics from our current approach for Windows Vista, and it is based on great feedback from customers and partners. With the original release-to-manufacturers version of Windows Vista we released in November 2006, counterfeit systems can go into a state called reduced functionality mode, which essentially suspends a number of features of the system until the user takes action to get genuine.

    Our new tactic, which takes effect with SP1 for Windows Vista and also will be part of Windows Server 2008, due out next year, is a proven and effective way to combat piracy. Customers want to know the status of their systems, and how to take action if it turns out they were victimized.

    It’s worth re-emphasizing that our fundamental strategy has not changed. All copies of Windows Vista still require activation and the system will continue to validate from time to time to verify that systems are activated properly. What is changing with SP1 is the nature of the experience for those systems that are never activated or that fail validation.

    PressPass: What about after SP1 is released? Will you continue to draw from customer feedback to guide your efforts?

    Sievert: As we go forward, we always want to be mindful of our customers and their experience with Windows, and operate the WGA program to be as responsive as possible to feedback we hear. At the same time, it’s important that we be consistent in how the program evolves in the future. We have and will continue to base our decisions on some fundamental principles.

    Namely, we want to ensure that through this program, we maintain a great customer experience, and to do so, we will go after pirates and counterfeit software in a way that minimizes any disruption to our genuine customers. We are committed to transparently communicate how the program operates so that our customers and all interested parties clearly understand what’s happening and why. We understand the importance of protecting user privacy and conduct the program in accordance with a clear privacy policy. We are committed to delivering WGA with accuracy by making it a priority in identifying counterfeit software and striving to meet the high standards customers and partners expect of Microsoft. Finally, we are committed to providing great customer service and support. For those systems identified as non-genuine, we will provide resources to help individuals acquire genuine Windows Vista.

    These principles will continue to serve as the bar we measure ourselves against in evaluating our anti-piracy efforts and how these efforts evolve over time to meet the continued threat of piracy.

  • New Microsoft Blog: Hackers @ Microsoft

    Posted by bink on August 26 2007, 2:42 PM. Posted in Piracy.

    Welcome to a new blog from Microsoft.  The focus of this blog is likely to be a little different from most other blogs you'll see on  Microsoft employs some of the best hackers in the world and actively recruits them and develops them.  They work on all kinds of projects, whether it be in development, research, testing, management and of course security.  Of course, there is controversy even in the word " hacker " but I don't think that should stop us from using it in the manner I think is the most appropriate.  At his or her core, a true hacker is someone who is curious and wants to learn how systems work.  This can and of course at Microsoft is done in an ethical, legal manner.  We employ " white hat hackers " who spend their time pentesting and code reviewing applications and software looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities so that others don't once we've released that code into the wild.  We employ many many smart testers who know more about some of our software then perhaps the architects who designed it.  We also employ some of the top researchers in their industry, dedicated people working on the bleeding edge of whats going to be common place in the next 5 or 10 years of computing.  So yes, Microsoft does have hackers, and its time to introduce you to some of them and show you what it is, exactly that they do.

    Generally most of the content you'll read and people you'll meet on this blog will be somehow related to security but not all by any stretch. 

  • See how MS UK site got hacked

    Posted by bink on July 1 2007, 1:37 AM. Posted in Piracy.

    In this video the hacker demonstrates how he hacked the MS UK patner website.Download At Source
  • Time for Microsoft to Change Its Patch Policy?

    Posted by bink on June 6 2007, 3:17 PM. Posted in Piracy.

    WindowsNow Blog: In a very interesting post on the Google Online Security Blog analyzes which web servers are responsible for the world's malware.

    Microsoft IIS 6 tied with Apache at 49% for compromised servers, even though Apache has a 40% lead in deployments. Apache makes up at least 50% of the malware servers in every country, save for Asia (China and S. Korea). The reason? Google says it's because of the high rate of piracy in Asia, and Microsoft's policy of not patching pirated systems.

    Distribution of web server software by country.

    Web server distribution by countryMalicious web server distribution by country 

    The figure on the left shows the distribution of all Apache, IIS, and nginx webservers by country. Apache has the largest share, even though there is noticeable variation between countries. The figure on the right shows the distribution, by country, of webserver software of servers either distributing malware or hosting browser exploits. It is very interesting to see that in China and South Korea, a malicious server is much more likely to be running IIS than Apache.

    We suspect that the causes for IIS featuring more prominently in these countries could be due to a combination of factors: first, automatic updates have not been enabled due to software piracy (piracy statistics from NationMaster, and BSA), and second, some security patches are not available for pirated copies of Microsoft operating systems. For instance the patch for a commonly seen ADODB.Stream exploit is not available to pirated copies of Windows operating systems.

    Is it time for a change? Based on this information, I agree with Google. I think the evidence is pretty clear here that Microsoft's patching policy hurts legitimate customers much more than it does pirates.

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  • Microsoft CEO visits Vietnam to cement anti-piracy deal

    Posted by spy on May 21 2007, 5:24 PM. Posted in Piracy.

    Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer witnessed the signing of an agreement Monday requiring all of Vietnam's government offices to use licensed computer software in a step to curb rampant piracy."The agreement demonstrates very strong commitments of the government of Vietnam," in protecting intellectual property rights, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told Ballmer before the signing ceremony.Vietnam's Ministry of Finance was the first government agency to sign the Microsoft Office licensing agreement during a visit by company Chairman Bill Gates last year."I see a prosperous future ahead for Vietnam, and the country is doing the right things by looking now at how it can foster a healthy local software ecosystem, which will help open up this market to the rest of the world," Ballmer said in a statement.The software piracy rate in Vietnam is about 90 percent, one of the highest in the world, according to the U.S.-based Business Software Alliance, a piracy watchdog group. A version of Microsoft Windows can be bought on the street for as little as 50 U.S. cents.Continue At Source
  • Russian teacher fined in Microsoft piracy case

    Posted by bink on May 7 2007, 6:11 PM. Posted in Piracy.

    A Russian headmaster said on Monday a court has fined him half his monthly wage for using pirated copies of Microsoft software at his school in a case President Vladimir Putin has called "utter nonsense."

    Prosecutors said Alexander Ponosov had violated Microsoft's property rights by allowing pupils to use 12 computers with unlicensed copies of Microsoft Windows and Office software.

    Ponosov, a headmaster in a remote school in the Perm region of the Ural mountains, said he did not know the computers had fake licenses when they were delivered by a sub-contractor.

    Russia has been urged to crack down on the widespread availability of cheap pirated software, films and music as it prepares to enter the World Trade Organization.

    Illegal copies of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system are on sale for about $6 at Moscow markets.

    Russian state television has portrayed Alexander Ponosov as a hero in a David-and-Goliath battle against the legal system and international corporations.

    "Today the court brought in a guilty verdict - they ordered me to pay a fine of 5,000 roubles ($194.4)," Ponosov told Reuters by telephone from the Perm region.

    "I consider myself not guilty and I will file an appeal," he said, adding that he had not paid the fine. He said he earned about 10,000 roubles a month. Continue At Source

  • Microsoft forces pirate to advertise his guilt

    Posted by bink on May 3 2007, 2:23 PM. Posted in Piracy.

    A software pirate has been forced to take out an advertisement in the computer press after Microsoft won a legal case against him.

    The conviction is part of Microsoft's campaign to crack down on people selling pirated software on eBay.

    So far 55 people have been charged and the conviction of M A Jabarkhail of Grimsby was secured in January.

    As part of the judgement under the EU Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive, Jabarkhail was forced to take out an advertisement in PC Retail, a title chosen by Microsoft.

    "Judgement has been entered on Microsoft's behalf against M A Jabarkhail for trademark infringement, passing off and copyright infringement arising out of illegal trading on eBay," the quarter page advertisement reads.

    The advertisement cost Jabarkhail £370. More judgments are expected shortly and similar advertisements will be placed in relevant publications.

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