Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WP7 Prevents Hacks via ''Genuine Software''


It's like Windows Genuine Advantage, but on the phone.

ZoomWindows Phone Central reports that Microsoft has implemented a Genuine Software checker into Windows Phone 7, mimicking the company's nagging Genuine Advantage software found in Windows-based desktop and notebook PCs.

According to the report, Windows Phone 7 uses PVK, defined as private keys that connect the OS to the device hardware. The keys reside on the device motherboard, and are accessed and verified by Windows Phone 7. If the keys cannot be found, then the OS concludes that the motherboard needs to be replaced and shuts down key cloud-based elements like Xbox Live, Marketplace and Zune.

The discovery was verified by HTC, as the manufacturer lists a Service Advisory on one of its internal sites, giving the Xbox Live and/or Marketplace denial as a symptom of invalid PVK or missing PVK. The Service Advisory states that if the ASP diagnostic program detects the invalid/missing PVK, it will throw up a warning message when the user tries to log into a Windows Live service.

"There was a problem setting up your Windows Live ID on the phone and we need an activation code to finish setup," reads the warning. "You can call customer service to get the code, then enter it here. If you press Skip, we'll let you know the next time you do something that requires activation so you can call them."

Earlier this month it was discovered that Microsoft will swing the perma-ban-hammer on anyone modifying the phone to gain an extra dose of Xbox Live Achievement points. "This phone has been banned from Xbox LIVE for violating the Xbox LIVE Terms of Use," a file stated in a pre-final build of WP7. "To protect the Xbox LIVE service and its members, Microsoft does not provide details about phone bans. There is no recourse for Terms of Use violations."

As with Windows Genuine Advantage, it's only a matter of time before someone finds a way around Windows Phone 7's security. However consumers looking to use custom Windows Phone 7 ROMs may have a long wait ahead.


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