Thursday, 19 February 2009

Reasons why people break copyright

When designing security controls, people have to consider the human factor as well. This is not to state the typical end user designation of Luser (user with an "L"). Rather, it is the mindless ignorance some people think is data protection.

Today I installed a VALID copy of Windows XP (see the image below). This image is being used as a test Honeypot. In the course of the day, I have changed hardware a number of times and altered the device. The result, I have "broken" the Activation.

The result is that I have had to re-install the Activation code. This resulted in a call to the Microsoft (India via re-direction) call center. They bounced me to the US. The person there gave me a local (in the US) phone number to call - in business hours. I am in Australian business hours, the issue is that they want me to call in US time.

The interesting part is, time to re-download another ISO image FROM MICROSOFT and enter the key again from MICROSOFT - 3 hours less then waiting for MS to do basically nothing.

  • The time to locate a "safe" crack that ACTUALLY works and validates the software on MS, 89 minutes.
  • The time spent with MS on speaker phone as I tried to work, 264 minutes (before giving up).
  • The time to download ANOTHER copy of XP with another key under the MSDN Academic Alliance program (sort of like select for those non-academic people out there), 165 minutes.

Basically, the help desk function from Microsoft for issues that are not scripted takes longer then it does to either obtain another version of the product (there is no additional cost here under the program) or to crack the software.

And yet we wonder why people do not pay for software. In many cases - even when you have a valid license, the overhead of not going through valid channels makes it simpler and more efficient to not use them.

In fact, Microsoft's helpdesk failed to fix the issue at all.