All right, so who had “one week after the RTM release” in the bets? Almost everyone knew that it was only a matter of time before Windows 7 got cracked by pirates, but to have its security already compromised just a week after it was released to manufacturing is a new low, even for Microsoft.
The company’s operating systems have been notoriously easy to crack and are very widely pirated, especially in countries with non-stringent copyright laws like India. Come on, you have to know at least 10 people using a pirated version of Windows, right?
Neowin reports that the new crack and activation, allegedly by Chinese hackers, is built on the Windows 7 Ultimate version given to Lenovo. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are given copies of the operating system much before it is released in the market, so that they can get their various devices ready for the launch.
“The news comes from various Chinese forums who state that you can already pass Windows Genuine Advantage validation offline, OEM style,” the site said. “The leaked .ISO was originally posted on a Chinese forum, which was then downloaded in order for people to get hold of the boot.wim, and in turn retrieving the OEM-SLP key, plus the OEM activation certificate. Microsoft uses the same digitally signed OEM certificate, which has an .xrm-ms extension, as that in Windows Vista. Another point to note is that the key is a master one, which can be used to activate other OEM branded installations, like ones from Dell, HP or indeed Lenovo.”
A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed to Neowin: "We are aware of reports of activation exploits that attempt to circumvent activation & validation in Windows 7, and we can assure customers that Microsoft is committed to protecting them from counterfeit and pirated software. Microsoft strongly advises customers not to download Windows 7 from unauthorized sources. Downloading Windows 7 from peer-to-peer Web sites is piracy, and exposes users to increased risks – such as viruses, Trojans and other malware and malicious code—that usually accompany counterfeit software."