Sh1t has hit the fan again for Microsoft – pirates have managed to crack Windows 7 copy protection mechanism even before the OS’s official release. It’s nothing surprising though – everybody knew this was going to happen and it was just a question of when. Well that nagging question has now been answered. Windows 7 Ultimate RTM build 7600.16385 (which was leaked a few days ago) has been cracked and this time it’s not with a time stopper hack or a trial period re-arm workaround – the new exploit makes use of Microsoft’s OEM activation 2.1 to bypass WGA and pre activate illegitimate copies of Windows 7 even in offline mode.

Windows 7 RTM

They key used for activation seems to have leaked through a Chinese OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) distribution partner. As we Tweeted a few days ago, several OEM product keys were leaked online but these were immediately blocked by Microsoft so online activation was not possible. However it does not matter if the keys are blocked or not with the latest hack – activation bypass happens offline. The leaked DVD image gives pirates access to OEM-SLP (System-Locked Pre-installation) product key along with the OEM certificate for Windows 7 Ultimate via boot.wim file. I wouldn’t go into much detail about how the latest exploit works but it’s something similar to those BIOS emulation cracks that were hugely popular with Windows Vista. The hack seemingly works only with Windows 7 Ultimate. Pirates wouldn’t complain though – it’s the most featured filled Windows 7 edition out there yet.

We wouldn’t directly link to cracks or leaked product keys for obvious reasons but it’s a fact that they are now all over the internet, readily available for download. It’s safe to assume that warez community will keep improving the OEM hack and eventually more easy to use versions of it such as one click activators and pre-cracked editions will surface, taking Windows 7 piracy to the masses. It would now be interesting to see Microsoft’s next move. Maybe they’ll come out with a completely new WGA mechanism that hopefully would not be too intrusive than it already is. Maybe they’ll roll out a hotfix to detect and disable the OEM hack via Windows Update like they did for Windows Vista (with minimal success of course). Anyways right now it’s Pirates 1 and Microsoft 0. The battle continues…


10 Comments

  1. Adz // 7/30/2009 12:40:00 AM  

    You mentioned the DVD image - does it require Win 7 to be completely re-installed?
    Also, what name is this activation technique/tool floating around under?

  2. TEAM FILEnetworks // 7/30/2009 12:48:00 AM  

    Adz,
    The DVD image we mentioned was where the OEM key leaked from. As far as we know the OEM exploit doesn't require Windows to be reinstalled (if you have the correct version installed).
    As for your second question, we cannot give files names here. Sorry.

  3. Fr0sty // 7/30/2009 03:18:00 AM  

    hint search windows 7 activator or loader....

  4. Marx Engels Lenin // 7/30/2009 03:34:00 AM  

    This includes the XP virtualization?

  5. Sara // 7/30/2009 03:55:00 AM  

    Stories like this make me giggle. Piracy will always exist. Stop fighting it and go with it microshit

  6. Adz // 7/30/2009 04:28:00 AM  

    Thanks. I found it ;)

    Fr0sty, that's likely to return a bunch designed for the older versions. Searching for Hazar is more accurate.

    Sara, if Microsoft didn't fight it, they might as well quit business and give away everything for free. They need to fight it to keep the business running.
    Coincidentally, if it wasn't for piracy, the large number of staff Microsoft employs to deal with anti-piracy and depend on piracy for their income.

  7. Adz // 7/30/2009 04:31:00 AM  

    Oops, forgot to finish that sentence. I'll try again.

    Coincidentally, if it wasn't for piracy, the large number of staff Microsoft employs to deal with anti-piracy who depend on piracy for their income, would be out of a job.

    Twisted isn't it - to support the development of anti-piracy and software protection, piracy needs to flourish.

  8. GDP // 7/30/2009 12:53:00 PM  

    Thank you Adz

  9. LJ // 7/30/2009 02:33:00 PM  

    They make their money from new systems shipping with their OS not from people upgrading from older versions, this is just a miniscule fraction that is limited to well to do computer geeks and has a negligible affect to MS

  10. Adz // 7/31/2009 02:17:00 AM  

    LJ,
    But then you have to factor in the number of geeks, especially teenagers who are used to downloading everything. One class geek will download it, pass it to his/her friends and perhaps one of the more ingenious kids will sell the discs.

    Also, on TL, the x64 RTM version alone has been snatched over 3000 times. If we make an estimate of 20,000 international downloaded copies of Windows 7 Ultimate (x86 & x64), that's a loss of $6,380,000. That doesn't even account for people who have then shared their downloaded copies with family and friends.

    Then you have to consider the street sellers - people who have downloaded it once and then made multiple copies to sell for knock-down prices.

    I'd personally estimate that piracy of Windows 7 will cost Microsoft at $8million before it's even released. Afterwards, I would not be surprised if that figure exceeds $25million as more copies become available.

    Given that Microsoft's profits plunged by almost a third in the last quarter, even if they are still making billions, everything they make is helpful.

    ...But why on Earth am I even taking Microsoft's side? xD