Microsoft has decided to push ahead with blocking technology that will require people to validate their copies of Windows
. Users will be required to do this, or they will not be able to download updates. Microsoft's new Genuine Advantage 1.0 program will ensure this by checking that anyone accessing Windows Update, Microsoft Update for Windows or the Microsoft Download Center has a genuine copy of Windows. Thankfully, security updates will however be exempt from the ban, or we could be looking at legions of unpatched Windows machines just waiting to become part of botnets
Bonnie MacNaughton, senior attorney for Microsoft, said the company estimates that more than one-third of all copies of its software are counterfeit, based on a recent joint report released by the Business Software Alliance and research firm IDC. The study found that 35 percent of software worldwide is pirated. In North America alone, the piracy rate for software is 22 percent. "We consider that to be a staggering number," said MacNaughton.
Microsoft are keen to stress that customers who discover they have a counterfeit copy of Windows will either be given a free version of the operating system or can purchase it for a discounted price, but to get this they will have to fill out a counterfeit report identifying the source of the software.