Security vendor DriveSentry claims about half of pirated Windows Vista operating systems and cracks or activation codes are actually malware:
With Vista's consumer launch just days away, hackers have been bombarding discussion boards with offers of "cracked" versions of Windows Vista, which are typically being distributed on peer-to-peer networks, said John Lynch, vice president of sales and marketing for DriveSentry.
These posts offer downloads of the operating system that skip Vista's activation process, created by Microsoft to prevent users from running illegal copies.
Users who fall for the scam can end up with some pretty nasty problems, according to Lynch. DriveSentry researchers have found malicious key-logging software and spyware on about half of the downloads it has examined recently, he said.