Vista DRM Issue Aftermath

I received word from Microsoft today on the status of the Vista DRM Issue that I talked about earlier. It seems that the final consensus from their internal investigation is that my method does not constitute a viable means of exploting the driver signing/DRM model. In other words, the theory I came up with that might allow PMP to be subverted seems to have been proven false.

My original idea was to use boot Vista with the /DEBUG flag and then use the internal, undocumented Kernel-Mode Debug API to load executable code in kernel-memory or to overwrite existing code (as well as to disable PatchGuard). My rationale was that PMP wouldn’t detect any issues, since no unsigned code was running in the kernel, instead, you would have code hidden in Non Paged Pool or as part of \Driver\Null’s IOCTL routine (similarly to how Johanna loaded code using the pagefile.sys). However, it seems this won’t work, I’m assuming because PMP will actually detect that you’ve booted in Debug Mode, and it will enter reduced functionality mode (Which was the hypothesis on which the entire idea depended on). Since I don’t know more about PMP, I’m not sure if this is what happens, but that’s my personal guess. Either ways, it seems DRM is here to stay for now.

Speaking of reduced functionality mode, if you turn of the Secured Licensing Service (SLsvc) in Vista, the Control Panel and Windows Update stop working. I was disabling services to get a minimalstic Vista desktop (I don’t like booting with 50 processes on startup), and I didn’t care about this service, disabling it and assuming PMP would block me from playing BluRay/HDDVD (Which I don’t have)… but I never guessed it would kill the Control Panel. Seems kinda weird.

When I get back home, I”ll post a list of the only services that I’m running on Vista. It’s got all the functionality I need (Internet, Printing, Audio). I’m getting a new hard drive for my server tonight, as well as ugprading my main desktop CPU from an AMD64 X2 3800+ to an Opteron 185. That’s a jump from 2x2GHz, 1MB Cache to 2×2.6GHz, 2MB cache. I’m hoping to overclock to 2.8GHz. Do NOT get an FX-60. They’re the exact same chip, but they cost twice as more.

One Response to “Vista DRM Issue Aftermath”

  1. antonia says:

    Hi Alex,

    thanks for a great blog!
    Do you think you might get around to posting the list of services you have left enabled?
    Congrats on the job at Apple!


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