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By | Gavin Clarke 14th November 2009 06:02

Hackers in keyless Windows 7 entry

Crack skirts MS code

Hackers have found a way to bypass product activation in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to get free and illegal copies of Microsoft's latest operating systems.

The hack, according to My Digial Life, means you can get Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 without the need for a product activation key.

The crack apparently mirrors a similar breach in Windows Vista that was foiled by a Microsoft software update.

A Microsoft spokesperson told The Reg: "We're aware of this workaround and are already working to address it."

The company advised customers to avoid using illegal copies of Windows and to check their software is genuine, warning rogue software often contained malware.

Earlier this year, an OEM Windows 7 Ultimate product key was posted to a Chinese forum. The key worked on machines from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and MSI. It would let you bypass Windows Genuine Advantage to potentially unlock multiple copies of Windows 7 Ultimate.

My Digital Life said the fresh hack nullifies the sppcompai.dll thereby passing product activation and licensing in the Windows Activation Technologies' (WAT) Software Protection Platform (SPP) and Software Licensing Client (SLC).

Hackers have also devised tools that turn off any pop-ups or reminders that say the system has not been registered or the trial period has expired.

The hack has been blamed on Microsoft creating a system designed to give users plenty of opportunities to enter their details in case they make mistakes. "The crack is possible probably due to leniency allowed on the part of Microsoft on [the] activation mechanism to avoid getting too many false-positive or complaint on activation error [sic]," My Digital Life wrote. ®

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