Not even a week after going live Microsoft's Genuine Advantage program, designed to ensure a given copy of Windows isn't pirated, has already been cracked. The Genuine Advantage program prevents unlicensed or illegally licensed copies of Windows from downloading software (with the exception of security updates) from Microsoft's Web site.

A person who will we will refer to as "Rafael" has posted detailed instructions on how to hack a DLL that ships with Internet Explorer (IE) 7 beta so that the Genuine Advantage check can be effectively bypassed. The hack involves modifying two bits of data in the DLL before installing IE 7 beta.

"Rafael" also posted instructions and links to Javascripts that can be used in Internet Explorer or Firefox to accomplish the bypass operation. The Javascripts work through browser plugins such as Trixie for IE and Greasemonkey for Firefox and do nothing more than reset an internal cookie value. No wonder the hack was created so fast!