July 5, 2006 7:56 AM PDT

Microsoft faces second WGA lawsuit

Microsoft has been named in a second lawsuit over its antipiracy Windows Genuine Advantage program, which plaintiffs allege acts as "spyware" on their systems.

Engineered Process Controls, Univex and several other parties filed a class action lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, alleging Microsoft installed "spyware" on their computers as a "critical security update." The suit comes days after another complaint containing similar allegations was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

In this most recent lawsuit, the parties allege Microsoft violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Consumer Protection Act, the Computer Spyware Act, and also engaged in intentional misrepresentation of the software program.

Microsoft, however, contends the two lawsuits do not present a fair picture of WGA.

"The two lawsuits appear to be similar in the claims and both are without merit," said Jim Desler, a Microsoft spokesman. "They distort our antipiracy program?and the harm piracy brings to Microsoft and to customers."

Although the WGA feature is designed to validate the authenticity of Windows software installed on a user's PC, it recently raised the ire of some users when Microsoft began delivering the WGA prerelease as a "high priority" item automatically built into Windows updates.

The software, which scans users' hardware and software for information such as their Internet Protocol address, was initially designed to transmit information back to Microsoft every time users booted up their computers. But the software giant has since scaled back the frequency of the transmissions to twice a month and informed users about ways to disable the WGA alerts.

See more CNET content tagged:
lawsuit, antipiracy, Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage, Microsoft Corp., spyware

39 comments

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Yawn
Another BASH MS story on news.com&&&..big surprise. Maybe will have another German City dumps MS for Linux or a X  millions of downloads for FireFox today

Millions of pieces of real spyware each day get put on PC's that do real damage and NO ONE gets sued.

MS puts one SO CALLED piece of spyware on your PC that is aimed at preventing THEFT and they get sued.

America is overrun by greedy lawyers.

You know we just celebrated the 4th of July in America&and its all about Freedom. Freedom gives you the right to do what you want AS LONG AS you dont tread on others freedom.

Example it gives you the right to buy and put on your computer your choice of operating systems. It does not give you the right to STEAL that operating system&..or music or any other type of software and use on your system.

I hope this lawsuit is thrown so far out of court and the people that brought are charged for the time they wasted.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hmmm. Ignorant Poster or MS employee?
Lets look at the facts.
Sony was sued for their rootkit exploit.
They settled.

WGA not spywear?
Hmmm. Lets see how it gets loaded on your PC. Its sent as a microsoft update with the explanation that its just there to validate that you have a real copy of Microsoft's OS.

OK, so why does it need to report back to MS daily? Or even more than once, or at all? The "theft" of MS products has already occured. So why not have it validate it, report that the copy of OS is invalid and then halt the system until you talk to an MS operator in india who barely speaks english?


Further still, once installed, no way to cleanly de-install it. Also what's to stop microsoft from updating it to act as spywear in a later release once installed?

Bottom line. The suit is justified. MS got caught with its pants down.

Sorry. But you sir are a maroon!
Posted by dargon19888 (412 comments )
Link Flag
Yawn
Another BASH MS story on news.com&&&..big surprise. Maybe will have another German City dumps MS for Linux or a X  millions of downloads for FireFox today

Millions of pieces of real spyware each day get put on PC's that do real damage and NO ONE gets sued.

MS puts one SO CALLED piece of spyware on your PC that is aimed at preventing THEFT and they get sued.

America is overrun by greedy lawyers.

You know we just celebrated the 4th of July in America&and its all about Freedom. Freedom gives you the right to do what you want AS LONG AS you dont tread on others freedom.

Example it gives you the right to buy and put on your computer your choice of operating systems. It does not give you the right to STEAL that operating system&..or music or any other type of software and use on your system.

I hope this lawsuit is thrown so far out of court and the people that brought are charged for the time they wasted.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hmmm. Ignorant Poster or MS employee?
Lets look at the facts.
Sony was sued for their rootkit exploit.
They settled.

WGA not spywear?
Hmmm. Lets see how it gets loaded on your PC. Its sent as a microsoft update with the explanation that its just there to validate that you have a real copy of Microsoft's OS.

OK, so why does it need to report back to MS daily? Or even more than once, or at all? The "theft" of MS products has already occured. So why not have it validate it, report that the copy of OS is invalid and then halt the system until you talk to an MS operator in india who barely speaks english?


Further still, once installed, no way to cleanly de-install it. Also what's to stop microsoft from updating it to act as spywear in a later release once installed?

Bottom line. The suit is justified. MS got caught with its pants down.

Sorry. But you sir are a maroon!
Posted by dargon19888 (412 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, but will it teach them anything?
MS got caught with their coleective pants down on this one, and even has the gall to say the consumer wants this crap! But I guess this was the only way to test future (read Vista) antipiracy tech. I wondered why Gates walked away now, he apparently could see that their wasn't anymore growth to be had. Ol' Billy boy probably didn't wanna be part of the downward spiral.
Posted by (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah, but will it teach them anything?
MS got caught with their coleective pants down on this one, and even has the gall to say the consumer wants this crap! But I guess this was the only way to test future (read Vista) antipiracy tech. I wondered why Gates walked away now, he apparently could see that their wasn't anymore growth to be had. Ol' Billy boy probably didn't wanna be part of the downward spiral.
Posted by (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Quite disingenuous of Microsoft
It's quite disturbing to me that MS built its OS and Office monopoly on piracy as tech saavy geeks put illegal copies of Windows and Office on their PCs at work and that blossomed into companies being locked into the MS software machine.

Now MS alleges that piracy hurts them and consumers? Bull...

Software piracy is overblown because most pirated installs which they use to calculate their "harm" are installs that would never happen if people were forced to pay for it.

Also piracy has helped MS by providing the pirates who have become familiar with the pirated software with the ability to land higher paying jobs through this knowledge.

It's wrong.

MS' malware is not something new. Users should not be surprised and the WGA is nothing more than a feeble effort to pretend to be offended by the same piracy that helped make them the anticompetitive and tyranous monopoly you see before you today.

MS is forced by ludicrous American copyright and patent laws which demand that companies aggressively protect their intellectual property or else they lose the right to.
Posted by jachamp (84 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who's behind the bad ideas now?
First, the claim that "MS built its OS and Office monopoly on piracy as tech saavy geeks put illegal copies of Windows and Office on their PCs at work and that blossomed into companies being locked into the MS software machine." is absurd, ridiculous, and entirely non-factual. You don't get to make any accusation that comes to mind just because you hate Bill Gates or Microsoft.

A good question here is, now that Bill Gates is supposedly retired, who gets the blame whenever Microsoft chooses to adopt a bad strategy or policy and refuses to retreat from it? Who's the new bad guy? Or is Gates still pulling the strings? By now any other company would have seen how unpopular this one practice would be and would have ditched it and apologized. So who's the new arrogance behind the throne?
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Link Flag
Quite disingenuous of Microsoft
It's quite disturbing to me that MS built its OS and Office monopoly on piracy as tech saavy geeks put illegal copies of Windows and Office on their PCs at work and that blossomed into companies being locked into the MS software machine.

Now MS alleges that piracy hurts them and consumers? Bull...

Software piracy is overblown because most pirated installs which they use to calculate their "harm" are installs that would never happen if people were forced to pay for it.

Also piracy has helped MS by providing the pirates who have become familiar with the pirated software with the ability to land higher paying jobs through this knowledge.

It's wrong.

MS' malware is not something new. Users should not be surprised and the WGA is nothing more than a feeble effort to pretend to be offended by the same piracy that helped make them the anticompetitive and tyranous monopoly you see before you today.

MS is forced by ludicrous American copyright and patent laws which demand that companies aggressively protect their intellectual property or else they lose the right to.
Posted by jachamp (84 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who's behind the bad ideas now?
First, the claim that "MS built its OS and Office monopoly on piracy as tech saavy geeks put illegal copies of Windows and Office on their PCs at work and that blossomed into companies being locked into the MS software machine." is absurd, ridiculous, and entirely non-factual. You don't get to make any accusation that comes to mind just because you hate Bill Gates or Microsoft.

A good question here is, now that Bill Gates is supposedly retired, who gets the blame whenever Microsoft chooses to adopt a bad strategy or policy and refuses to retreat from it? Who's the new bad guy? Or is Gates still pulling the strings? By now any other company would have seen how unpopular this one practice would be and would have ditched it and apologized. So who's the new arrogance behind the throne?
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Link Flag
use Free XP, turn off auto updates, be a pirate
This is great news, Microsoft needs more of its customers to cry
out loud about the abuse this company has foisted on the
industry for over 10 years....they stole so many ideas from so
many people that it is a "Just thing" that pirates have not paid for
the software...pity the poor people that actually paid for this and
then had WGA ruin their systems.

I suggest you find a copy of Free XP, and turn off the auto
updates, there are none that really matter...and if you are really
concerned about productivity and security go buy a computer
that actually works: get a Mac OS X, or Linux.

Keep shorting MSFT stock, when it drops under $20 it"might" be
worth it, but until then it is time to take Gates and Co. to court,
and down to 3rd or 5th richest man, what a thief.
Posted by (39 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Whatever blackbierd
You are such an upstading citizen. Please dont breed.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
not exactly the smartest thing to do...
...especially since using copies of Free XP and pirated Windows software compelled MS to introduce WPA in the first place, causing headaches for us all.
Posted by mbjr (64 comments )
Link Flag
use Free XP, turn off auto updates, be a pirate
This is great news, Microsoft needs more of its customers to cry
out loud about the abuse this company has foisted on the
industry for over 10 years....they stole so many ideas from so
many people that it is a "Just thing" that pirates have not paid for
the software...pity the poor people that actually paid for this and
then had WGA ruin their systems.

I suggest you find a copy of Free XP, and turn off the auto
updates, there are none that really matter...and if you are really
concerned about productivity and security go buy a computer
that actually works: get a Mac OS X, or Linux.

Keep shorting MSFT stock, when it drops under $20 it"might" be
worth it, but until then it is time to take Gates and Co. to court,
and down to 3rd or 5th richest man, what a thief.
Posted by (39 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Whatever blackbierd
You are such an upstading citizen. Please dont breed.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
not exactly the smartest thing to do...
...especially since using copies of Free XP and pirated Windows software compelled MS to introduce WPA in the first place, causing headaches for us all.
Posted by mbjr (64 comments )
Link Flag
Where're the microSoft employees claiming nothing is sent via WGA now?
Hey, where are all those micro employees of microsoft that's been posting on CNet than nothing is sent out of your PC to microsoft via WGA?
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Where's the Microsoft employee's.......
Qoute:

"Hey, where are all those micro employees of microsoft that's been posting on CNet than nothing is sent out of your PC to microsoft via WGA?" - (kamwmail-cnet1)

They are probably off trying to figure out how to discredit this story: :P

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/2061-10789_3-6090215.html?tag=nl" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/2061-10789_3-6090215.html?tag=nl</a>
("IM worm disguises itself as WGA")

Which tells of what may be the first known exploit to use WGA to it's advantage. This is no doubt the first in what will become a wave of exploits that target WGA.

Yes, I am aware that this exploit depends on someone clicking on a link to download the Cuebot-K worm, but there is no reason to believe that there will not be more refined, and direct exploits of WGA itself in the future.

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't MS say that WGA represented no security risk?

Here's a link that directly relates to the article (and/or lawsuits), and a real *grown-up* response from one of the volenteers at the WGA forums:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=519857&#38;SiteID=25" target="_newWindow">http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=519857&#38;SiteID=25</a>
(Titled: "I have genuine Windows, but want it removed until the results of the class action lawsuit are resolved.")
Posted by Ghost Spider (27 comments )
Link Flag
Where're the microSoft employees claiming nothing is sent via WGA now?
Hey, where are all those micro employees of microsoft that's been posting on CNet than nothing is sent out of your PC to microsoft via WGA?
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Where's the Microsoft employee's.......
Qoute:

"Hey, where are all those micro employees of microsoft that's been posting on CNet than nothing is sent out of your PC to microsoft via WGA?" - (kamwmail-cnet1)

They are probably off trying to figure out how to discredit this story: :P

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/2061-10789_3-6090215.html?tag=nl" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/2061-10789_3-6090215.html?tag=nl</a>
("IM worm disguises itself as WGA")

Which tells of what may be the first known exploit to use WGA to it's advantage. This is no doubt the first in what will become a wave of exploits that target WGA.

Yes, I am aware that this exploit depends on someone clicking on a link to download the Cuebot-K worm, but there is no reason to believe that there will not be more refined, and direct exploits of WGA itself in the future.

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't MS say that WGA represented no security risk?

Here's a link that directly relates to the article (and/or lawsuits), and a real *grown-up* response from one of the volenteers at the WGA forums:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=519857&#38;SiteID=25" target="_newWindow">http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=519857&#38;SiteID=25</a>
(Titled: "I have genuine Windows, but want it removed until the results of the class action lawsuit are resolved.")
Posted by Ghost Spider (27 comments )
Link Flag
TOOL DELETS MICROSOFT ANTI-PIRACY ALARM
Check out this article:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.infoblog.us/2006/06/tool-deletes-microsoft-piracy-alarm.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.infoblog.us/2006/06/tool-deletes-microsoft-piracy-alarm.html</a>
Posted by zxocuteboy (45 comments )
Reply Link Flag
TOOL DELETS MICROSOFT ANTI-PIRACY ALARM
Check out this article:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.infoblog.us/2006/06/tool-deletes-microsoft-piracy-alarm.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.infoblog.us/2006/06/tool-deletes-microsoft-piracy-alarm.html</a>
Posted by zxocuteboy (45 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Has anyone seen this:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://p2pnet.net/story/9252" target="_newWindow">http://p2pnet.net/story/9252</a>

ANYWHERE in CNET/ZDNET/TechRepublic????? If so, WHERE?????????
Posted by btl-jooz (81 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Has anyone seen this:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://p2pnet.net/story/9252" target="_newWindow">http://p2pnet.net/story/9252</a>

ANYWHERE in CNET/ZDNET/TechRepublic????? If so, WHERE?????????
Posted by btl-jooz (81 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stops updates
I for one can say that can stop a programs update.
ZoneAlarm sent me an update that took 3hours to download,(which I did three times),&#38; each time the window poped open saying,( it was not a genuie window's program), so now ZoneLabs is sending me the update by mail.

I hope this does'nt happen to all the program's I have.

If it does, I well drivescrub my drive,&#38; reload my program's,(which take's about 3 day's)&#38; I will never turn automatic update again.

If I had the money, I'd take ms to court!
Posted by Earl (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stops updates
I for one can say that can stop a programs update.
ZoneAlarm sent me an update that took 3hours to download,(which I did three times),&#38; each time the window poped open saying,( it was not a genuie window's program), so now ZoneLabs is sending me the update by mail.

I hope this does'nt happen to all the program's I have.

If it does, I well drivescrub my drive,&#38; reload my program's,(which take's about 3 day's)&#38; I will never turn automatic update again.

If I had the money, I'd take ms to court!
Posted by Earl (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
microsoft worse than a hacker
Dear sirs

I totaly agree MS should be called to account for their vandalism I had automatic update turned on
&#38; updated to SP2 &#38; WGA The results all my Old Dos programs no longer worked &#38; some windows programs also refused to run most notebly MS Money 2000
then to top it off WGA decided My genuine licenced Hologram &#38; all copy of windows wasn,t genuine.
Also Wether by coincidence of deliberately me system slowed down to a crawl eventually becoming totally unuseable.
as A result I had no otption than to re format the drive loosing mutch valuable data in the process
needless to say windows update is permantly turned off &#38; SP2 is a no. no. as for the spyware WGA I hope it bites them in the ass.
Anyone know of a good alternate OS capable of running Dos programs.?
Posted by pactrol (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
microsoft worse than a hacker
Dear sirs

I totaly agree MS should be called to account for their vandalism I had automatic update turned on
&#38; updated to SP2 &#38; WGA The results all my Old Dos programs no longer worked &#38; some windows programs also refused to run most notebly MS Money 2000
then to top it off WGA decided My genuine licenced Hologram &#38; all copy of windows wasn,t genuine.
Also Wether by coincidence of deliberately me system slowed down to a crawl eventually becoming totally unuseable.
as A result I had no otption than to re format the drive loosing mutch valuable data in the process
needless to say windows update is permantly turned off &#38; SP2 is a no. no. as for the spyware WGA I hope it bites them in the ass.
Anyone know of a good alternate OS capable of running Dos programs.?
Posted by pactrol (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sorry people but just what did MS get caught stealing or spying on?? wheres the proof except for the program being on the OS? I want proof besides some freetard or appletard making the invalid claims. MS has the right to protect there OS from theft and WGA is the way they do it. This just a ploy from some stinking Lawyer to make a few million for himself because when its all said and done thats who is going to benefit from any lawsuit,the Lawyers,not anyone else.
Posted by PAman57 (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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