Cracked Vista ISO’s may contain Trojans

Vista installation appears to be very different from the multi-reboot procedure known from previous versions. Apparently the Vista DVD’s will simply contain a compressed disk image (in a proprietary Microsoft .wim format) which will simply be copied onto your drive. This is actually not a horribly bad idea, and it should really streamline corporate deployment, especially since it is a file based – not sector based image. This means that you can essentially decompress it to any existing windows partition without the need to format it and etc..

If you read the linked article you will also see that MS makes it relatively trivial to add new drivers, or software to the WIM image. This is also a great feature for corporate world, as it will let IT departments easily slipstream all the needed software and drivers into their network installs. The downside of this of course is that it is similarly easy for someone to modify the core Vista system files by for example installing bunch of trojans, and then create a new WIM image of the compromised system. It appears that some people out there started doing precisely that, and are now injecting pre-0wnt WIM’s into popular torrent networks.

So here is a word of advice – do yourself a favor, and do not download cracked Vista. It’s not worth it. The OS is a retarded POS, it has more DRM than features, and your system might be 0wned out of the box so to speak.

There is one thing that strikes me as suspicious here – how could MS development team miss this vulnerability? They could have prevented it if they really wanted to, seeing how they really, really put allot of effort into preventing users from actually doing anything useful with digital media. So why would they leave this huge hole open for malicious crackers to exploit?

Perhaps they just didn’t care. Perhaps this is part of their anti-piracy strategy. First they lock out cracked version of windows from Windows Update. Now they make it trivial to create compromised Vista images, hoping that this will flood the file sharing networks with unusable copies.

And in the meantime they can just have their PR goons spread the FUD about how dangerous it is to download and install pirated Vista. This is quite ingenious actually. Too bad that this won’t really stop idiots from getting their illegal copies from shady sources. The net result will simply be a sharp increase in the number of zombified machines connected to the internet…

[tags]microsoft, windows, vista, trojan, security, widnows vista, wim[/tags]

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6 Responses to Cracked Vista ISO’s may contain Trojans

  1. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I got a free copy of Vista (well, I get it when it comes out to general consumers in ten years). I doubt I’ll end up installing it, though, at least not for awhile.

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  2. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Can you fix the end strike tag for me, yo. Then delete this comment. Then make me pancakes.

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  3. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Strike fixed, but I don’t think I can make any pancakes here at work. :(

    Actually Vista is supposed to ship this month or something like that. At least I think OEM people like Dell should get it before Christmas. But then again who knows.

    I’m not going to buy it either. If I’ll ever get it, it’s going to be at some point in the future when I buy a new desktop for gaming and the OS comes with it.

    I’ll probably mess around with it a little bit once we get new Vista laptops here at work. We are definitely not switching everyone to it but I’m guessing that after the new year all the new machines will ship with it. At which point I’m gonna have to figure out that whole new arcane licensing system…

    Oh, and with the stupid limits on how many times you can reinstall the system it sounds like it’s going to be tons of fun considering how fast my users can trash the OS to the point when it is just less work intensive to reformat and start from scratch than to attempt regaining any sort of control over the system.

    So yeah, I’m not really looking forward to it at all.

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  4. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    What are the limits on reinstalling? Why would they do that? I can’t tell you how many times I had to reformat my dad’s/his kids’ computer!

    I just bought a new “Vista capable” (hahah) laptop, which came with a rebate for a free copy…I think the fine print said “may take 17 weeks” hahah. They may as well have said “we’ll just take our sweet ass time since you ain’t payin us.”

    Even when I get my copy though, the trouble of reinstalling when it is unnecessary is too much for me at this point. Microsoft still hasn’t given a good enough reason, I think, as to why everyone should drop XP and install Vista. Sure, they say the security is better, but I take things like that with a grain of salt. I do find it astounding, though, that the recommended amount of RAM they say you should have if running Vista is 1 gig (minimum of 512 megs). It’s truly an OS for a newer computer, very few people I know own computers with over 512 megs of RAM. My dad’s still has 128, hah. It can’t even run the latest version of AIM.

    By the way, where are you working, and are you still at MSU??

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  5. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    How would I go about creating an ISO of my own system? I’m currently (literally right now – I’m mulittasking) in the process of reinstalling Windows, uninstalling all the crapware that gets put back whenever I use Dell’s “Restore to Factory Settings” utility and reinstalling all my own software/restorig backed up files.

    Removed crapware items from Add/Remove Programs = 15 and counting
    (5 more to go)
    Software to reinstall: 32 items

    as the statistics above show it would be much quicker to just have a disc (or several, theres quite a lot of stuff there) to do it all from. Plus I could wipe Dell’s backup partition and reclaim some hard disc space

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  6. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I think new Vista has a limitation on how many different machines you can use with it (not at the same time, of course – but in sequence). In other words, after you switch computers 2-3 times MS wants you to buy a new license or something like that. Not sure what are the exact limitations but I know they exist, at least on the cheaper versions.

    Of course knowing MS upgrading your RAM, changing a CPU or installing new graphics card all may be registered as moving windows to a new machine (at least that used to be the case with XP which just forced you to re-activate).

    And yeah, there is absolutely no reason to upgrade to Vista right now. It is much more bloated than XP, and it will run slow on 90% of the mainstream hardware that’s out there right now. Functionality on the other hand is very similar to what XP had. The two significant differences are excessive DRM built into the OS, and eye candy. Neither of which appeals to me…

    Oh, and you might need to buy a new HDCP compliant monitor in order for Vista to play the HD which is retarded.

    I work at a small financial company in West Caldwell. They apparently do “asset based lending” stuff, whatever the hell that means. I’m just doing IT and some development work for them.

    I’m not really “at” MSU anymore. I’m there once a week or so, to work on my thesis, but I’m not taking any classes anymore. I should be done by the end of the year. :)

    Matt – see if you can find any useful disk imaging software here. Out of these I would probably try PING and SelfImage. Some people swear by Norton Ghost but it’s not free – it will cost you about $60 unless you get a crack. :P

    In most cases you will need either a second HD or a network share where you will dump the image. Some software might allow you to save the image to another partition on the same drive, but most tend to be fussy about that kind of stuff.

    I’d leave Dell’s backup partition – It’s nice to have it, especially if for some reason your image gets corrupted or damaged.

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