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Fortify warns Windows fans to side-step Windows 7 pirates

January 2009 by Fortify Software

Fortify Software, the application vulnerability specialists, says that Windows fans should avoid downloading and installing pirate copies of an early build of Windows 7, the new Microsoft operating system, which has leaked on to the P2P file-sharing side of the Internet.

"Reports suggest that pirate versions of an early build of Windows 7, which is under alpha test with developers, is available for file-sharing on the Internet. Given the low level at which this operating system installs on a PC, we recommend users give the version a very wide berth because of the associated security risks," said Rob Rachwald, Fortify’s director of product marketing.

According to Rachwald, unconfirmed reports suggest that Build 7000 of Windows 7 has been downloaded - and almost certainly installed - by several tens of thousands of Internet users.

The problem with this version, he says, is that there is no way of authenticating that the early build has not been tampered with by a hacker, who may have coded all sorts of malware into the 2.44 gigabytes file.

Given that PC users over the holiday period probably have had time on their hands, and quite possibly a new PC for Christmas, the temptation is there to download and install the pirate version of the new operating system, he said.

This, he added, is not the right thing to do, as anyone hooking up a PC with the early version of Windows 7 Ultimate to the Internet could find their PC generating malware, hacker and denial of service attacks, as well as email spam, without them being aware of it.

"And that’s just for starters. It’s highly unlikely that any IT security application will protect the new operating system from internally-coded malware, so the fall-out from trying an unofficial version of the new operating system could be quite severe," he said.

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