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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 Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital projects at the company, including launching and running the group's popular virtual summit and Coffee talk series . She an experienced tech journalist (20 years), and before her current position, was the editorial director of the group's sites. A few years ago she gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web browser technology would impact online advertising for publishers. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.

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