Jun 23, 2006 (09:06 AM EDT)
Utility Disables Microsoft's 'Phone Home' Anti-Piracy App

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

A French firewall testing site has posted a utility that disables the controversial Microsoft anti-piracy application that's been criticized for "phoning" home daily.

Firewall Leak Tester, which specializes in firewall stress tests, has released RemoveWGA, a program that deletes the Windows Genuine Advantage Notification Tool. The tool is one of two components that Microsoft has been aggressively promoting as a way to detect counterfeit copies of Windows ( WGA Validation Tool), then nag the user if a bogus Windows is found (Notification Tool).

Two weeks ago, Microsoft came under fire for not making it clear that WGA communicates with the company on a daily basis. Microsoft later issued a statement that denied its anti-piracy software was spyware, tried to explain why it was pushing the Notification Tool via Automatic Update, and said it would modify the software so it "phoned home" to Microsoft less frequently.

Firewall Leak Tester's RemoveWGA utility only deletes the in-testing Notification Tool; it leaves the Validation Tool intact.

"The Validation part is mandatory for some not critical downloads from Microsoft, but the Notification part is not mandatory at all, and you are able to install all of the security updates without installing this one," Firewall Leak Tester said on its Web site.

RemoveWGA can be downloaded from here.

This isn't the first time that Microsoft's WGA has been sniped. In August and May 2005, hacks took aim at the Validation Tool.