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Hackers Thwart Genuine Advantage

Even as Microsoft unveiled the new, mandatory Genuine Advantage 1.0 last week, hackers were prepared to show anyone who wants to bypass the anti-counterfeit device exactly how to do so.

Genuine Advantage 1.0 was supposed to ensure that only computers using a valid copy of Windows are able to access the company's Windows Update and Microsoft Update download sites, as well as the Microsoft Download Center. Unauthorized versions are still allowed to access security downloads.

According to published reports, users can bypass the ActiveX-driven authentication check by pasting a special JavaScript command in the address bar of the browser. This code is freely available on the Web.

The hack cannot be a surprise to Microsoft; several news reports, including this one from EWeek.com, show that security researchers unearthed flaws in the Genuine Advantage verification process months ago.

According to reports, the company is working on a patch, although no official announcement has been made.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Enterprise Computing and Education Groups, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital strategy for the groups. She also serves as executive editor the ECG Web sites, and you'll even find her byline on PureAI.com, the ECG group's newest site for enterprise developers working with AI. She recently gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web technology may impact publishers' bottom lines. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.