Archive for the ‘Security & Privacy’ Category

SOLVED: So, Why Do I get “Unable to complete Genuine Windows Validation” When I Know For A Fact It Was Already Validated???

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Why am I all-of-a-sudden being required to RE-VALIDATE my copy of Windows, which I know for a fact is Genuine???

Windows Genuine Advantage Error: Taskbar Notification

Windows Genuine Advantage Error: Taskbar Notification

I started this post out looking at this article: How to Remove “Unable to Complete Genuine Windows Validation” | Well, I’ll let you know after I restart if these steps worked….

(… AFTER REBOOT …) The method in the above link did not work …

So, there is a little blue 5-pointed star in my system tray all of a sudden today. This is the first time I remember seeing this on my laptop. The star pops up a dialog balloon that says:

“Unable to complete Genuine Windows Validation”

I know I have a valid version of Windows — this installation is part of a corporate image, that has worked since 2009 — and I don’t particularly trust Microsoft so I’m not comfortable with “RE–ing” anything.

Windows Validation Plugin for Firefox: download link

Windows Validation Plugin for Firefox: download link

I checked out this post:

There are a few useful suggestions but none of them worked for me. The resolution was the the original poster’s issue was resolved by Microsoft fixing a broken issue on their end, though this may just be a clever attempt at MS bashing, because the OP repeatedly says he’s going to buy a Mac because Microsoft sux. I think he is under the erroneous impression that MS cares what he thinks specifically, probably brought on by the pervasive meme that “the customer is always right” … you will find, this is often only taken seriously by software companies when they are dealing with clients/customers who are businesses (B2B), not individuals.

Regardless, I have not found a solution as of yet. I’m considering examining more posts for answers. Right now I just am not feeling too good so if I pursue this further it will have to be when I am better.




I eventually found the solution by retracing my steps.  The laptop I was using was issued to me by a corporation I used to work for, and as such had their proprietary management software embedded on the system.  After several previous unsuccessful attempts, I was finally able to completely remove the corporate software — YAY!!! — from my laptop (BTW, the laptop was an older model and was given to me when I left said company because it was of little value to them).  Unfortunately, it eventually also became clear that the removal of said embedded corporate software was the cause of my Windows version all-0f-a-sudden reporting itself as “Unregistered”.


The solution was simply to undo the changes & put that corp software back! Once I realized that, fixing it was a piece-of-cake because, thankfully, I had the foresight to make a backup image before messing with anything. I restored the old image and everything was back to normal!

In case you are wondering, there used to be about 3 software products one could use for backing up images — Norton Ghost being the most costly, and most well known. I use a Linux-based program called Acronis True Image Home 11, which was free at the time. They only charged for the corporate version. Here is a link to their website: Their latest product is True Image 2013, which I haven’t had the pleasure of using yet. If any of you do use it, feel free to comment below and let us know how it worked for you, and what challenges or success you experienced.



Internet blackout looms for thousands: What you need to know | The Lookout – Yahoo! News

via Internet blackout looms for thousands: What you need to know | The Lookout – Yahoo! News.

Facebook and the Creep Factor

Social Media App - Girls Around Me

Here’s an interesting article from Kevin Drum over at that may motivate some users of Facebook and other Social Network apps to monitor their security & privacy settings more closely:

Facebook and the Creep Factor.

Hacktivist Leader Turns on Fellow LulzSec Bretheren – Cooperates With Feds

Lulzsec Hung Jake Davis

This is the de-facto flag of the organization ...

Anonymous Flag


Anonymous (Photo credit: jacsonquerubin)

According to Brit Dee over at Activist Post:

At a time when governments are working hard to stifle internet freedoms — just today, the British government was given the green light to implement the draconian Digital Economy Bill and start implementing sanctions on alleged illegal downloaders — LulzSec‘s and Anonymous‘ attacks provide the authorities with the perfect justification for such laws, as well as the excuse to push through even more restrictive internet legislation.

Ms. Dee went on to foretell one possible ominous future:

This could create a classic “problem-reaction-solution” situation, where the public reacts to the seemingly chaotic and threateningly anonymous hacking groups by accepting a government solution they may previously have resisted — stricter regulation of the Internet. It would be grimly ironic if groups proclaiming to fight for internet freedoms were in reality being used as a tool — infiltrated and steered by the very intelligence agencies they have apparently attacked — to kill those very freedoms.

Only time will tell if Ms. Dee’s assertions are correct. Nevertheless, I can think I two appropriate quotes to leave you with:

The easiest way to get a law passed quickly is by scaring old people — (anonymous)

and …

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. — Benjamin Franklin (1755)


Mozilla Collusion Could Be A Godsend For Privacy Advocates – Is Google Adwords-Adsense In Jeopardy?

collusion firefox privacy addon - blue

Mozilla unveiled a new privacy add-on called Collusion last Wednesday (February 29). Developed by Mozilla’s in-house programmers, and backed by the Ford Foundation, Collusion enables you to se a visual relationship map of all the advertisers and entities who are tracking your online activity, in real-time.

Gary Kovacs, (CEO of Mozilla), had this to say on his blog about the purpose of Collusion:

Few people realize the extent to which the tracking of our online activities is occurring, and who is doing it. At best, it would make most uncomfortable. And at it’s worst, it makes many of us outraged, particularly those of us who are parents.

Hey went on to say:

Collusion will allow us to pull back the curtain and provide users with more information about the growing role of third parties, how data drives most Web experiences, and ultimately how little control we have over that experience and our loss of data.

Daily Mail UK said of the unveiling:

The move comes the same week that Google pushed ahead with its controversial new privacy policy, built to provide even more data for Google’s $28 billion advertising business – despite concerns that the massive harvesting of private data might be illegal in many countries.

Now this is why competition is a good thing. In this case, Google makes money by getting more up in our business than before, and since Mozilla has a competing flagship product, to win over customers (and market share) they create this addon to help shed light on who is watching you. It’ll be neat to try it out when I’m on Facebook.

Only time will tell, but as long as this isn’t a Trojan Horse Mozilla has built, I think it could become very popular, very soon.

You can download the Collusion Beta here.