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Software Copy Protection Questions

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the fact that you are using garage games torque stuff is going to change everything -- and for sure the best thing to do is look on their forums for people talking about how they might protect their assets.

the problem is that torque is really made to leave files in their original state and work with loose files arranged in directories, etc.  in other words they didn't seem to give any thought to protecting media files, etc.

i wouldn't be surprised if they didn't change that in the future but that's how it is now.

of course the torque code is all available to you, so it wouldnt be too hard to write a custom encryption of the media files.

OK, let me ask this question to start things rolling. Forgetting about the expensive products that are only realistic for the big guys, what are the top selling solutions for the independent developer? For example, I am going to head off to RegNow and see what they sell. I assume some in-house tool.

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.

Some other popular serious protection tools:


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

mouser: both asprotect and armadillo have been targetted pretty heavily by crackers, and there's unpacking tools available for various versions (perhaps not public tools for the latest versions, but cracking groups do have internal tools).

I'd advise anybody looking into ready-made solutions to check which information the reversing scene has published on the net. Google for things like "armadillo unpack", "asprotect tutorial", and check the forums.

Another protector is SVKP, from . I don't know how effective it is (I frankly haven't looked into these matters for quite a while), but I saw the MazeGen obfuscation engine it uses demonstrated at the FASM 2007 conference... at least that part means I wouldn't want to trace through the protection code :)


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