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What Does WPA Report?

The software company Fully Licensed completely reverse-engineered the WPA process. Remembering the ignominy that befell dear Dimitry Sklyarov at Defcon last year, because of DMCA restrictions we cannot reprint the excellent analysis by Fully Licensed.

However, based on its findings, Fred Langa reported in Information Week that when you register XP software, the OS sends Microsoft a unique 50-digit hash of your machine.

In addition to the software license number, this fingerprint is derived from the following aspects of your system:

  • CPU serial number

  • CPU model number/type

  • Amount of RAM in the system

  • Graphics adapter hardware ID string

  • Hard-drive hardware ID string

  • SCSI host hardware ID string (if present)

  • Integrated development environment controller hardware ID string

  • MAC address of your network adapter

  • CD-ROM drive hardware identification string

Whether the system is a dockable unit (for example, a notebook)

Worse, even after the product has been fully registered, WPA "phones home" to Microsoft from time to time. Thus, if you have changed your system components, or if there are problems with the Microsoft central database, your system locks into a reduced-functionality mode. It is unclear what other investigation or action Microsoft takes against you after that.

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