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Messages - Swinto [ switch to compact view ]

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Developer's Corner / Re: Software Copy Protection Questions
« on: September 29, 2007, 11:51 AM »
Software protection programming is not a very well known field for most
programmers. Software protection techniques are not like "visible" features
that can be seen and compared. Because of this most software protection authors
could talk about impressive techniques that are included deep inside the
protection scheme, when many times most of these techniques hardly exist or
they are much simpler than what they seem.

Most software protectors reiterate a lot about using very strong cryptographic
algorithms like RSA, Elliptic curves and AES hoping that the final user will
believe that those protectors and the cryptic algorithms are unbreakable. This
if far from the truth as software protection is very different from data
protection. Even if a software protector encrypts the protected application
with the most robust cryptographic algorithm, sooner or later the protected
application needs to be decrypted in order to be run by the CPU. It is in this
phase when most attackers will start their work by dumping the decrypted
application from memory to disk thus not having to deal with the cryptographic
algorithm and reconstructing of the original application.

Developer's Corner / Re: Software Copy Protection Questions
« on: September 27, 2007, 08:41 PM »
tinjaw: Armadillo is one of the most cracked copy protection solutions available on the market. Why spend the money? Just Google "Armadillo crack" and you get 446,000 hits. Check also Woodman

The key is that no protection solution is 100% proof. Thus the solutions that take the longest to defeat have the best chance of not being cracked. Any solution that is based on a single hurdle such as Armadillo are easily cracked. Look for solutions that take on a multiple hurdle approach.

Thanks for the input folks. I spent half a day researching this area and learned quite a lot. I have decided to go with Armadillo/Software Protect for the following reasons:
  • Widely used so it is easy to get help from fellow developers.
  • The major online registration services like RegNow and Plimus have "native" support for it. (For example, Digital River owns both Armadillo and RegNow.)
  • People have used it with games built using Garage Games' Torque Game Builder.
  • The cost of purchase for Armadillo includes a custom build to make it less susceptible to generic cracks/keygens.
  • Reasonable cost ($300)

Developer's Corner / Re: Software Copy Protection Questions
« on: September 27, 2007, 08:30 PM »
f0dder: I have evaluated both and found that Vilabs solution is great for protecting against tampering and reverse engineering while Byteshield protects both the application and the license manager against illegal copying and tampering. The first one is software you buy and install locally while the second is an ASP solution model.

Swinto: just for the record, are you affiliated with either of those products, or do you have experience with them?

Developer's Corner / Re: Software Copy Protection Questions
« on: September 25, 2007, 12:59 AM »
Hi tinjaw,

No protection solution is absolute. Most solutions are built around one hurdle so the cracker have only that hurdle to solve. Therefore a strong protection mechanism must be built with lot's of hurdles that increase the work effort for the cracker by orders of magnitude. This so that illegal copying, piracy, tampering and reverse engineering becomes such a large effort, that the incentives to steal the software disappear. There are many solutions out there but very few that actually works. Solutions that work include and Byteshield for instance remove some pieces from the executable and put them in a separate, server based, module.

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