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Microsoft DancersYesterday, Microsoft Corporation launched a new program designed to prevent people from updating pirated versions of software. According to InformationWeek, Microsoft estimates that about 12 million machines in the United States and 13 million in China run illegal copies of Windows XP. In order to crack down on this problem, they have created a program called Genuine Advantage that supposedly sniffs out pirated software on someone’s PC. They require that this program be run before installing any updates, including those to Windows Media Player, DirectX, and Internet Explorer. Microsoft has been working on this solution for 11 months.

How long did it take to crack? Less than 24 hours.

On BoingBoing today, a one-line JavaScript hack was posted. All you need to do is cut and paste it into the address bar of the browser and everything works. As an AJAX web designer, I spend the majority of my days programming in PHP and JavaScript. I can tell you that we double check any security requests on both the client’s computer and on our server. The fact that a JavaScript hack works shows how pitiful Microsoft’s attempts at security really are.

It should not come as a surprise that Microsoft is poor at security. It has been plaguing them for years and has been a major concern since 2003 when major bugs appeared in Windows XP. Even last summer, the US Department of Homeland Security came out with security concerns about Internet Explorer and recommended that users switch to alternative browsers.

Oh, Microsoft….

Note: As I write this blog, I am watching NASA TV and they are having issues getting Microsoft Outlook to work on ISS. What do they recommend doing? Reboot!