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Author Topic: microsofts anti piracy measures in china  (Read 6972 times)

Davidtheo

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microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« on: October 29, 2008, 02:17:38 AM »
Would you class this is spending malware? Microsoft makes computer screens turn black.

Kingsoft reacts to microsofts anti piracy measures in china

The question I am asking is "Does Microsoft putting software on computers that make the screens turn black without the user knowing or knowledge count as malware" the legal software industry in china is NOT part of the question.



EDITED: to make the question clearer.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2008, 02:28:17 AM by Davidtheo »

zridling

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2008, 02:43:21 AM »
This is why I'm totally against piracy. If you're going to use proprietary, commercial software or shareware, you gotta pay for it. Otherwise, you're subject to this kind of action when you don't. Like it or not.

There's donationware; freeware; and open source as alternatives. In other words, don't use any Microsoft product you're not willing to pay for.

Davidtheo

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008, 02:47:05 AM »
yes but the question is: "If the users does not known MS is putting this software that turns the screen black on their computer is it classed as malware"

nosh

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2008, 02:47:22 AM »
Going under the assumption that the software is actually illegal, that would be like a bank robber complaining about the cash that blew up in his face and inked him red.

Theoretical arguments aside, I can see a lot of legit users (read: Westerners) seeing red black because of this.

MS's anti-piracy measures at the ground level are a total fcuking joke in India and I've even called up their anti-piracy hotline and mentioned that to the automaton who answered it. MS's software is widely regarded as free for the home user and every kid knows exactly where to go and buy something like the latest MS Office suite for around $2-3. This bit of knowledge has strangely evaded MS and its crack anti-piracy squad, maybe they're too busy figuring out which shade of black will least aggravate their legit users.

And your link seems to be more of a plug for Kingsoft than anything else.

Edit: Location mentioned for clarity.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2008, 03:03:10 AM by nosh »

Davidtheo

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2008, 02:52:13 AM »

And your link seems to be more of a plug for Kingsoft than anything else.

sorry about that I did not write the news report, and this is not meant to be a plug for KS.
And yes I do work for KS.

f0dder

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2008, 03:44:42 AM »
No, I don't see this as malware.

But on the other hand, measures like that piss me off. I've had more than one instance of (legit) Windows installs shitting themselves and deciding they're non-genuine. Sure, calling a toll-free number has fixed those instances, but I do not want to be suspected of piracy when I'm being legit - ticks me off, bigtime.

And of course the pirated versions of Windows work super well, and hardly ever end up in unactivated state. So this is just another example of the pirates laughing while eating their cake, and the legitimate end-users being inconvenienced.
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Davidtheo

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2008, 04:20:40 AM »
I would like to point out Microsoft's own definition of malware.

Let us take the easy one first. "Malware" is short for malicious software and is typically used as a catch-all term to refer to any software designed to cause damage to a single computer, server, or computer network, whether it's a virus, spyware, et al.

Now the fact is that this software "causes damage" to a computer, by MS own definition this is malware. IF however, the software came with MS Office and only stopped MS Office from working, and MS put a warning on the software when being installed then it would not be malware.


f0dder

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2008, 04:34:41 AM »
IMHO locking out the user doesn't qualify as "causing damage", and it's imho clutching at straws trying to classify it as such. And it obscures the important point - that lockout and DRM are just plain wrong.
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czb

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2008, 07:57:24 AM »
IMHO locking out the user doesn't qualify as "causing damage"

I think it does. Locking out in a wrong time can cause serious troubles...

Imagine you are a bus driver and the same happens when you have the bus full of people ;)
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f0dder

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2008, 08:10:07 AM »
IMHO locking out the user doesn't qualify as "causing damage"
I think it does. Locking out in a wrong time can cause serious troubles...

Imagine you are a bus driver and the same happens when you have the bus full of people ;)
That's a pretty contrived example, imho. And again, focus is shifted from the important "this is a bastard thing to do" to a useless argument of whether it can be called malware or not.

Another fine reason for not classifying this lockout mechanism as malware, is that it waters out the definition of that word....
- carpe noctem

Eóin

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2008, 09:25:33 AM »
I'm wary of chipping in here because I'd had this debate elsewhere already :D

The claim in china is that MS 'hacked' into people computers and installed this software without their permission. The analogy has been likened to a car manufacturer breaking into people garages just to checked if they happened to rob any of their cars.

The complaint describes Microsoft as "the biggest hacker in China with its intrusion into users' computer systems without their agreement or any judicial authority".

"Microsoft's measure will cause serious functional damage to users' computers and, according to China's Criminal Law, the company can stand accused of breaching and hacking into [the] computer systems of Chinese [users]," it added.

Ms are even getting sued in China over this. Thing is the claim is probably false and that people installed the WGA program themselves.

Davidtheo

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2008, 09:47:32 PM »
Another fine reason for not classifying this lockout mechanism as malware, is that it waters out the definition of that word....

I do not think it does, think of it this way, A hacker writes a program that sends your browser a web site, this is walware. So if a hacker writes a program that makes your screen go black ever hour is this not walware?.

So what is the differences between a hacker doing it and a company doing it and not telling you.

« Last Edit: October 29, 2008, 09:57:22 PM by Davidtheo »

Davidtheo

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2008, 09:48:47 PM »
Thing is the claim is probably false and that people installed the WGA program themselves

but did they know what they where installing and where they told about it.


zridling

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2008, 03:14:45 AM »
Quote
[Davidtheo]: But did they know what they where installing and where they told about it.

At least they did IF they read the Windows EULA, the same EULA that was far more restrictive for Vista than XP ever dreamed of. In the original, you couldn't even change a significant piece of hardware without having to buy another copy of the OS, much less use it on a second computer within the same house.

______________________________ back to piracy, though...

google-android-source.jpg

Using a pirated copy of commercial software -- ironically -- hurts open source and freeware alternatives! Let me explain.

Adobe Photoshop. Microsoft Office. Microsoft Windows. Perhaps the three most pirated programs in history. Software piracy is so widespread that it isn’t just some fringe phenomenon trickling around the globe, it’s the norm. You've heard the excuses: "They charge too much." "They can afford it." "They encourage it because it increases their market share." and so on. (I have a friend who visits China twice a year with his job, and he brings back two suitcases full of pirated software and movies he paid a $1 or less for each. Dude drives me crazy.)

But consider the long-term advantage of piracy to the vendor. A commercial software company would certainly prefer that you pirate a version of their software, rather than avoiding it altogether. While they’re making less per user, they still have your support in using it, and that often leads to more revenue for them down the line. Looking for a job in graphics or web design? When you read the want ads, you'll see Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash… and they're all industry standard programs.

The point is, even if you haven’t paid for the software, the company has already sold you on it. You directly contribute to either establishing or sustaining it -- and its proprietary formats -- as de facto industry standards. At that point, you're simply doing Adobe’s market promotion for them every time someone asks you what graphics software you use, or which is the best. Microsoft has long encouraged piracy over non-use. Even if you're not paying for Windows and other Microsoft apps, you're still keeping the company's market share above 90%. And they know there's less than a 10% chance you'll jump to Apple or Linux.

........................ Still with me?

When you choose to pirate software, FOSS (Free, open source software) loses out. Microsoft/Adobe loses revenue, and to make a profit for the stockholders, they often have to raise prices elsewhere to keep up. If you (or anyone in China in David's case) choose to download and use a pirated copy of MS Office 2007, then some other software like OpenOffice -- or in David's case, Kingsoft (for $70) -- loses.

A good example of this is Adobe Flash; as of right now Flash remains a closed format, and the only way you can competently develop Flash at the moment is with Adobe’s software. For all practical purposes, Adobe has established a monopoly here, and there are almost no alternatives at all (except perhaps, OpenLaszlo, in a very limited way). If you develop with Adobe Flash, whether it’s paid or pirated, you’re going to be supporting Adobe and tightening their hold on this standard in the industry. Same goes for saving documents in Microsoft's MS-OOXML format and MS Office.

If you really want to 'stick it to the man', using FOSS and open formats developed with open standards is the way. Not stealing it. If the software built using open standards is the mainstream, then you won't feel the urge to perpetuate that pirated $800 copy of Photoshop.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2008, 03:17:05 AM by zridling »

Eóin

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2008, 06:36:24 AM »
Zaine your not wrong, in fact I very much agree with you. But unfortunately people will do what's best for them, not what's best for the majority.

Piracy generally delivers the best product; high quality, low price. Sure it's wrong but people often do the wrong thing.

Davidtheo

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2008, 07:56:46 PM »
At least they did IF they read the Windows EULA, the same EULA that was far more restrictive for Vista than XP ever dreamed of. In the original, you couldn't even change a significant piece of hardware without having to buy another copy of the OS, much less use it on a second computer within the same house.

Let me see if I have this right, what your saying is anyone can write a program and if people do not pay for said program they and disable their computer as long as they say this in the EULA it is not malware. After all this is what MS is doing right.

That's a pretty contrived example, imho. And again, focus is shifted from the important "this is a bastard thing to do" to a useless argument of whether it can be called malware or not.

Another fine reason for not classifying this lockout mechanism as malware, is that it waters out the definition of that word....

I have no problem with disabling the program that has not been paid for, If MS Office has not been paid for disable MS Office, if XP has not been paid for disable XP, but when MS Office has not been paid for and it disables the whole computer this is wrong and should be classed as Malware.


Renegade

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2008, 12:01:47 AM »
From the VNUnet article:

Quote
In August Microsoft introduced a new feature to its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) software that turned the wallpaper of computers using a pirated version of Windows XP Pro black every 60 minutes and displayed a message that the software was pirated.

The wallpaper? Boohoo.

Quote
Chen Chong, director of the China Software Industry Association (CSIA), said: "I respect the right of Microsoft to protect its intellectual property but it is taking on the wrong target with wrong measures.

Wrong Target = People who steal software
Wrong Measures = A gentle reminder that they are stealing

So what is the right target and what are the right measures?

Can't target the thieves! Can't tell them they are stealing!

Perhaps Microsoft should just do what 99% OF ALL OTHER SOFTWARE VENDORS DO: Disable the software completely.

That should make people happy. 

MS didn't hack anyone in China. Read the license terms. WGA updates itself. The new stuff is just an added feature. That's all.

http://www.channelre..._fury_microsoft_wga/

It's just the desktop wallpaper! What's the big deal?

Another suit:

http://www.theregist.../10/28/ms_wga_china/

$1 billion?

Quote
The screen [ed: wallpaper] can be restored to its original settings but will revert back to black after an hour.

The Chinese government should spend its time on trying to get people from putting chemicals used in plastics manufacturing into milk rather than worry about this.


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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

J-Mac

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Re: microsofts anti piracy measures in china
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2008, 12:55:12 AM »
After reading several articles about this i still cannot tell for sure whether or not WGA actually disables Windows or the computer itself - though disabling Windows would in effect disable the computer, at least for a time until an alternate OS could be installed.

All that being said, any countermeasures contained in software that unexpectedly disables a computer is technically malware, at least by the definition of malware as I know it.

I am still of the firm belief that any such measures that can disable the hardware or software of ANY user - even paying ones, when things go wrong (and they often do) is despicable and is targeting the wrong sector; they should spend their efforts either going after the pirates, or simply make it more beneficial to pay for the product.

Jim