Vista Anti-Piracy Tool Will Cause More Spam

Microsoft's new Software Protection Platform (SPP) in Windows Vista is the follow-on from Windows Product Activation (WPA) and Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA). The basic idea is that if a running Vista instance senses that it's been pirated, it disables some of its functionality. Unfortunately, Microsoft's plan partially squanders the opportunity to drastically reduce the amount of spam and viruses spewed by malware-infected PCs next year.

According to Microsoft's plan, one of the pieces of functionality to be disabled will be Windows Defender, Vista's built-in malware detection tool. We think that Vista's Windows Defender will be a valuable service -- it should substantially reduce infections in new consumer PCs in 2007.

But why choose to disable Defender on a pirated Vista install? After all, Microsoft promises to continue providing "critical" security updates to such PCs, so this policy is at best inconsistent, certainly a missed opportunity, and arguably downright dangerous.

... Richi Jennings

One Comment

  1. Posted October 10, 2006 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    I got contacted by a Microsoft spokesperson about this. In an email exchange, she confirmed that a “degraded” Windows Defender does nothing to catch botnet zombies — but it does catch some spyware. So my criticism stands.

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