Generated Product Key trap?

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Many readers have wondered about the effect of the ‘key generators’ that are available on pirate software sites.

Some interesting responses to our series “If your product key is stolen” Part 1 and Part 2 .

Many wondered about the effect of the ‘key generators’ that are available on pirate software sites. These ‘keygens’ generate a product key for the targeted software which you can, in theory, use to register the software without paying. Key generators are not as effective with software like Office which uses ‘back to base’ activation in addition to a product key.

The question is whether your product key could be ‘stolen’ if a key generator happened upon the same product key that you were legitimately issued by Microsoft?

It is possible but so unlikely that we didn’t feel it was worth mentioning. The 25 character alphanumeric product key can have an enormous number of combinations, so many that the chance of an accidental duplication is very low.

(the theoretical combinations are around 800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 – 800 followed by 36 zeros though the actual possible combinations will be less, due to the formula and checksums used to make a valid product key).

While the possibility is very unlikely, it is one more reason why Microsoft needs to impose more transparency and openness into their software licensing system.

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