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  1.  
    which is why they've never received a red cent from me for 3 decades
  2.  
    Ditto.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017 edited
     
    Or me, ever.

    ETA - Gasp! It's not true! I did once send them money!

    The mind mercifully forgot the incident. I decided to be compatible with my workplace once and bought myself a machine running Windows 2000.

    But I'm all better now, thank you.
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: maryyugoI wrote the seller:
    Hi.
    Thanks for the prompt email. I am curious about two things, if you can say. How long are these valid and do they ever require renewal with Microsoft? And can you say, just generically, not specifically, where these come from and how it is possible the price is so reasonable?
    Thank you.



    Hey,

    1. This is for lifetime.
    2. Many company's have this subscription and can create unlimited accounts for their company. So they profit and try to get the monthly costs by selling slots in their company's subscription.


    Yah shoore. For $10. And I did not know that MS sold lifetime subscriptions to what is an annually renewable service but maybe the corporate ones don't expire. What happens if the corporation stops paying? These may be fun for learning but they are certainly not suitable for any serious application.

    Finally, at $10, I overpaid! Some eBay vendors offer them as low as $3.50. So much for the corporation selling these to lower their costs!

    It's a strange world.
    I have a Microsoft Office 365 E3 subscription for my users at work, which I initially signed up for in order to migrate my on-premis Microsoft Exchange mail server to the cloud and to also ensure licensing compliance for Microsoft Office for each of my users. This subscription entitles each of my users to install Microsoft Office (any version) on up to 10 devices. I also have the ability to generate keys for Office, for example if I wanted to install Office on some training PCs not associated with any particular users or on test systems etc. Sometimes, companies illegally resell such keys to third parties.

    Bear in mind also that sometimes companies purchase subscriptions for x users, only to subsequently lay off some of these users or to wind up the company, which would leave the company or their creditors with a surplus of licenses until the annual subscription renewal time would come around, at which point the licenses would expire. Reselling these types of licences would also be illegal from the point of view of the licence agreement with Microsoft and also because they would only work until the company was due to renew them and reselling them to you as lifetime licences would be fraudulent misrepresentation.

    I suspect that similar and even more loose situations arise for schools, colleges and government departments, which is where my best guesses would be pointing towards as the likely source of your dodgy licences & subscriptions.
  3.  
    And I would _never_ trust a computer loaded with such quasi-illicit stuff to continue to work past the first time you connect it to the internet. It will probably phone home at the first opportunity and fink on you, and then you will be plagued with "unexplainable" glitches, BSODs or even hardware failures. Or your stuff will simply stop working at all one day, probably when you need it most.
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017 edited
     
    Even worse than the dodgy keys and subscriptions are the key generator and licence activation workaround programs that some folks have taken the time and made the effort to create. Now those same unknown folks have made these programs available "free" to the general public via links provided in places such as the Pirate Bay and the public are supposed to believe that they have done this as some sort of ideological statement sticking it to The Man in Redmond?

    And even now, today, despite everything, there are still plenty of dumb people who will happily download and install such programs, not realising that they are getting a lot more 'ware than the key generators and licence activation workaround programs they are seeking when they install programs like that on their computers ...
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017
     
    Looks like a student subscription which will be tied to some Uni/School volume agreement and will be illegal (a violation of the licence terms) to sell on or even be made use of by someone who is not a student at the institution.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017
     
    Posted By: pcstruLooks like a student subscription which will be tied to some Uni/School volume agreement and will be illegal (a violation of the licence terms) to sell on or even be made use of by someone who is not a student at the institution.
    Seems like the best explanation -- possible, for the one I bought anyway, a school or small company in Hong Kong. But the company is not selling them. Probably a thief. The costs are as low as $3.50 each!

    Anyway, it's fun to play with but it would make no sense to make a real use of these.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017
     
    Posted By: DuracellAnd even now, today, despite everything, there are still plenty of dumb people who will happily download and install such programs, not realising that they are getting a lot more 'ware than the key generators and licence activation workaround programs they are seeking when they install programs like that on their computers ...


    Maybe and maybe not. Not that I support such activity but thepiratebay has a roster of "trusted" uploaders which means that the user base has not found major fault with their uploads. I have been test driving all sorts of software from thepiratebay for a decade and have NEVER found one of my downloads to contain a virus or malware according to several antivirus checks including on line ones, and Malwarebytes which I have found to be very reliable. On the other hand, just accessing thepiratebay subjects one to attempts at browser hijacking and autolinking to various scam and scumware web sites. Malwarebytes Pro protects against most of them. It is still wise to use an extra laptop with a disposable/replaceable installation of OS and programs when accessing it. But I have no access to a large company and there is often no way I can try an expensive program without buying it (a few have crippled or short duration trial periods but that is inconvenient). Thepiratebay is a good workaround for me. I *never* recommend it for anyone else.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: alsetalokinAnd I would _never_ trust a computer loaded with such quasi-illicit stuff to continue to work past the first time you connect it to the internet. It will probably phone home at the first opportunity and fink on you, and then you will be plagued with "unexplainable" glitches, BSODs or even hardware failures. Or your stuff will simply stop working at all one day, probably when you need it most.


    How would the ghostly "they" (Microsoft or software companies, I presume?) get to your HARDWARE? That whole rant is mainly paranoia. I agree only inasmuch as it is unwise to try using pirated software of any sort for serious work. I see no problem (and have had no problem) using it for trying out stuff.

    I did have a nasty malware infection a very long time but it was from accessing a hacked website without protection (way back when). I decided to slug it out rather than reload from scratch and enlisted the help of a web site I think no longer exists called something or other cops. Some peachy volunteers took me step by step through cleaning the machine using special software of their own and other people's making. It all worked out but the problem was that it took more than a week (the volunteers can't answer messages rapidly) and I was without that machine for that time.

    ETA: I searched an old links file and it was probably https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CastleCops these guys who solved my malware problem that one time. See also: http://www.darkreading.com/attacks-breaches/castlecops-shuts-down/d/d-id/1130098?
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: DuracellI have a Microsoft Office 365 E3 subscription for my users at work, which I initially signed up for in order to migrate my on-premis Microsoft Exchange mail server to the cloud and to also ensure licensing compliance for Microsoft Office for each of my users. This subscription entitles each of my users to install Microsoft Office (any version) on up to 10 devices. I also have the ability to generate keys for Office, for example if I wanted to install Office on some training PCs not associated with any particular users or on test systems etc. Sometimes, companies illegally resell such keys to third parties.


    It did occur to me that an audit could take place in a school or company and all accounts not associated with current members of the organization could be shut down. I wonder if that would be possible without warning. After all, once you sign in, you're dealing directly with Microsoft or so it seems. I never saw anything to suggest there was any overall supervision of the account. The only "strange" thing I saw was that location info defaulted to Hong Kong.

    Also, I believe once you download the office suite to your computer (the local one, Office 2016, not Office365) it is yours. Ah well... not worth much more follow up. I don't need MS Office newer than 2003 and I have that! Since 2003!
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: maryyugoI have been test driving all sorts of software from thepiratebay for a decade and have NEVER found one of my downloads to contain a virus or malware according to several antivirus checks including on line ones, and Malwarebytes which I have found to be very reliable.
    Well that shit is all just fine and dandy for keeping you protected from amateur hour mischief and script kiddies working from malware toolkits they downloaded from the deep web, but don't really understand properly etc. Are you simply unfamiliar with the concept of the zero day exploit?
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017 edited
     
    I am not unfamiliar but I do think it's rare. With so many people using the internet, unknown exploits don't remain that way very long. There are thousands of people looking expressly for them.

    And of course, good malware detection software uses heuristic methods as well... or at least it claims to. Anyway, like I said, I dedicate one machine to screwing around. When I didn't, in the distant past, I had one bad incident-- ONE -- and it got fixed reasonably straightforwardly. Maybe I am just a very lucky person.

    And like I said, I never recommend thepiratebay or any sort of bootleg software to anyone.
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: maryyugoI am not unfamiliar but I do think it's rare. With so many people using the internet, unknown exploits don't remain that way very long. There are thousands of people looking expressly for them.
    That is a very naive and unfortunately inaccurate opinion. You are thinking of the types of zero day exploits that don't remain zero day for very long at all because they end up getting distributed to wannabe hackers, amateurs, script kiddies and incompetent idiots via easily findable and freely available malware development toolkits. Of course the antimalware companies and security bloggers are all over these types of zero day exploits almost as soon as they emerge in any popular malware development toolkit and of course patches very quickly emerge to protect end users from such zero day exploits. Why wouldn't they? It's the very least that they should be protecting you from.

    However, professional hackers, for example the sort of people who work for organised criminals and to whom certain governments turn when they need plausible deniability, do not use mass distributed malware toolkits to produce their malware. Such professionals develop their own zero day exploits from scratch and these are closely guarded secrets. The organised criminals who use them consider them to be their assets and anyone stupid enough to mass distribute these types of zero day exploits would be likely to find themselves facing some pretty harsh consequences in short order. They can, and often do, remain unpatched and undetected zero day exploits for years.

    Similarly, zero day exploits developed by governments are usually considered state secrets and anyone stupid enough to mass distribute them would be likely to find themselves facing charges of treason and worse depending on the government involved. They also can, and often do, remain unpatched and undetected zero day exploits for years.

    Even amateur hackers can manage to use fully functional, attractive "free" software key generators and licence activation workarounds to deploy malware that takes advantage of zero day exploits to legions of unsuspecting users in order to create large botnets, which they then hire out for criminal enterprises via the deep web.

    This sort of shit is far more common and far more prevalent than you seem to realise. IMHO even the best antimalware software available would be unlikely to stop more than 50% of the zero day exploits currently actively being used in the wild today.
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: DuracellThis sort of shit is far more common and far more prevalent than you seem to realise. IMHO even the best antimalware software available would be unlikely to stop more than 50% of the zero day exploits currently actively being used in the wild today.

    Your baby monitor things don't even have any anti-malware running.

    (or "Yea, I bought my lady you know, these really neat color changing lightbulbs and you know, all she cared about was what fuck'n AV those bad boys runnin'. Well fuck my ass I was you know, out of there like zip man. Crazy bitch an all y'know.")
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017
     
    Yep, the IoT is a fucking security nightmare ...
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017
     
    Heh, and we haven't even got started on AI yet. Why would anyone think about the security of a neural network - "well of course we didn't check the pointers, it's already trained, no one would EVER want to write data to it ... I mean, just ... oh fuck".
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017
     
    That's nothing. Wait until the AI discover how much fun it is to squirt their own malware up their net connections.
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      CommentAuthoralsetalokin
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2017 edited
     
    You don't think that malware can damage hardware? When things like fan speed, CPU voltage, SSD read-write cycles, CPU processing speed and suchlike are under software control? How many times can an old hard drive bang its heads hard against the travel stops before it gets misaligned?

    OK, fine.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2017
     
    Posted By: alsetalokinHow many times can an old hard drive bang its heads hard against the travel stops before it gets misaligned?
    Your hard drive has heads? Thing is, you're right but those are very noticeable activities. The owner might think something is wrong if his fan shuts off or starts racing, etc. anyway good point.