Someone might think it was an attempt to fight unlicensed use of Creative Suite 5.5, when few days ago Adobe had reset licences of pirated copies of its software — Photoshop, Dreamveawer and others. So users may see the dialog screen with the message: “The serial number you used to activate this product has expired. This is your last opportunity to launch the product before it is automatically deactivated. To reactivate, you must provide a new serial number or start a trial on next launch.” Here’s the screenshot below:
How come people were using that software illegally you may ask? Well, although Adobe has used a seemingly sophisticated activation method, in reality it is sort of bluff, and I fail to understand its reason. Because the workaround is plain silly: get the trial, shortcut some web addresses like “activate.adobe.com” thru the host file to have instant domain name resolution, and finally use a generated serial number. You are done. I don’t support piracy, but I’m explaining this to show: this should not be that simple! I mean, common Adobe, you have enough resources to make this a serious barrier. Now it is one big hole. Continue reading
A guy named Jester(th3j35t3r) took down infamous wikileaks.org as he claims in Twitter. I fully support this. I’m looking for a screenshot now, but couldn’t find so far.
TANGO DOWN — what does it mean? It is a slang phrase used by the Special Forces when a terrorist has been eliminated in combat. But what is that TANGO anyway? Early radio communication suffered severely from interference, which often could make messages almost impossible to understand. The help came from the idea of inventing a word to confirm each alphabet letter in a way that no words would sound similar. Even with modern straight and clear electronic communication via Skype or email, phonetic alphabet is often helpful. Besides, sometimes it is cool to use it, as for the Jester Joker.
In the world of of underground you can find sometimes true pieces of GUI art. You may call them ugly, and indeed they are not ordinary, but they reflect the shining of the hidden world. Let’s keep aside talks about how bad using workarounds for commercial software is. I believe you can only achieve big popularity for a program, if the software is used by those can pay (corporations, citizens of countries with sound economy) and also those who can’t. If that happens, then those who don’t care have to use that software as well, because it becomes the standard. So, then everybody is affected. Based on that I think Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk and other giants are truly interested in piracy in certain limits, because that doubles their popularity. That happened to Windows and Photoshop, and that did not happen to Mac OS X, for instance.
There we have the teams ZWT, Orion, FFF, CORE, Again, TMG, Digital Insanity, EMBRACE, SSG, ECLiPSE, DAMN. If these names tell you nothing, I can not really help.
The ones with blue background below are ANSI crafted. It is usually a file with *.nfo extension. Very good and free viewer for these files is GetDiz from Outertech software.
As I wrote many times, Windows 7 (and Windows Vista before) is incredibly popular software, which is the fact. But I think Microsoft deliberately makes it available for crackers in a very hidden way. By doing this, Microsoft can kill two birds with one shot: people who buy software and the ones who don’t — both run the latest superior operating system — Windows 7. My point — one population will never merge with another one completely, so if you really restrict the illegal use, you will loose the other half. You’re only interested when everybody is using your software, because then there will be no real alternative. Linux? It is a free headache in short. Apple? That is a good example of those who want to exclude the dark side. Pirated Leopard is a very rare animal. Result? Look at their market share. Microsoft makes it in a very wise way: they say they fight piracy and they do, but in reality they leave back door open. So, you could ask: Well, how about that activation stuff and genuine software program? That really works, however the workaround is very simple.
The idea has become possible due to specific OEM activation mechanism (SLP): If the OS can match three things together (OEM information in SLIC table from BIOS + digital certificate (file) + product number), then the activation happens automatically and instantly. The first part is the most tricky one, because it is hardware driven, i.e. depends on PC manufacturer, all the rest can be simply copied, given the System Locked Preinstallation keys are common for one OEM (ASUS could use one product key for many-many computers, for instance). So what hackers did, they introduced a program loader that puts appropriate OEM info into memory before Windows boots.
Here is a very good explanation of the method, ironically called The Official Windows 7 Repository. Let me quote: “Activators, also known as loaders, add a script on the boot partition (Linux Grub boot loader (GRLDR)) which will put OEM information (SLIC 2.1) into memory before Windows starts. This way Windows thinks that the SLIC 2.1 come from the BIOS (which is false). Activators also install a certificate and an OEM SLP key to activate Windows”.
Windows Loader by Daz is the most popular activator which is kept steadily updated (last version is 1.9.2)
Comparison of Vista Loader 184.108.40.206 and 2.1.3 / Post from 2007
I have the latest Vista Loader 2.1.3 (AKA Windows Vista Activator 2008) in my lab. It is supposed to be invulnerable to Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and KB940510. Besides, it makes no boot string flash. I suspect it is exactly the same core element as the VistaLoader v220.127.116.11 by Dasumo. Let’s hack the hack and see what is inside this program, and what makes it invisible. Continue reading
/First published in 2007/
With that level of magnitude of popularity which is given for most Microsoft products, it is inevitable for Windows Vista to be cracked. There are two main reasons for that: first — there will be always people who do not want or cannot afford to pay the price, second — there are always people who are doing reverse engineering for fun. These two things are connected. You can call it piracy, but in a way it is no more than a “technical dance.” And as any dance it does not have any particular purpose or goal to achieve. I mean one crack is never enough. You can blame users for using these workarounds, but in my opinion, ultimately it is only a fuel to keep the enormous flame of Windows popularity. Continue reading