Mar 182015

Microsoft just dropped a bomb that will echo through the world of software piracy for a long time: Windows 10 will be a free upgrade even for non-genuine versions of Windows.

“We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10,” Windows operating systems chief Terry Myerson told Reuters on Wednesday.

This means that all users running a pirated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 — a stark contrast to Microsoft’s anti-piracy measures in the past, which included an activation system as well as warnings and reduced functionality for Windows systems that were determined to be non-genuine.

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Aug 232012

Our recent feature on the growing vulnerability of passwords chronicled the myriad ways crackers extract clues used to guess other people’s login credentials. Add to that list a password reminder feature built in to recent versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

It turns out the password clues for Windows 7 and 8 are stored in the OS registry in a scrambled format that can be easily converted into human-readable form. That information would undoubtedly be useful to hackers who intercept a cryptographic hash of a targeted computer, but are unable to crack it. Jonathan Claudius, the SpiderLabs vulnerability researcher who documented the new Windows behavior, has written a script that automates the attack and added it to Metasploit, an open-source toolkit popular among whitehat and blackhat hackers alike.

The clue is added to the OS registry when users configure a Windows account to provide a hint about the password needed to access it. When he first saw the long string of letters and numbers that stored the hint, he thought it had been encrypted. Upon further examination, he learned that an eight-line Ruby script quickly decoded the text chunks.

MORE:  Password hints easily extracted from Windows 7, 8 | Ars Technica.


Aug 062012

Apple has removed any reference to Safari for Windows from its website, and is more or less acting like it never happened.

Safari for Windows made its way onto millions of PC’s using the iTunes auto update system, and you’d be hard pressed to find a single fan among those they duped into downloading it. As a WebKit equipped browser it wasn’t the worst option for Windows users at the time, but it also didn’t offer any distinct advantages. Today Safari 5 users on Windows are stuck using an outdated browser, and naturally, aren’t warned that they are vulnerable to at least 121 unpatched flaws. According to Apple’s own documentation these flaws can expose users to attack by malicious code execution, and are quite serious in nature.

MORE:  Maximum PC | Safari For Windows is Abandoned By Apple, Leaving Users Vulnerable With No Warning.