Software protection against cracks and piracy

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by SoftComplete, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. SoftComplete

    SoftComplete Guest

    Software piracy! Cracked serial numbers! Thousands of commercial
    products are posted on the warez sites and become available to all
    every day! Companies lose millions of dollars every year to software
    piracy, and faulty protection programs. Shareware developers look for
    unbreakable protection for their products and create some protection
    themselves or try many of the ready-made tools. Unfortunately most
    tools have already been cracked, and self solutions often only take one
    determined cracked a few hours to bypass. As a result they soon find
    the stoles keys and product cracks on thousands of hacker Internet
    pages.
    No solution ? Well there is

    It is time to turn to time tested, EXECryptor protection product.
    EXECryptor is a powerful software tool that provide developers with
    software protection from reverse engineering, analysis and
    modifications. Its main difference from other protection tools is its
    brand new metamorphing code transformation technology.

    With EXECryptor the protected code block is not just packed or
    obfuscated like many other packers, but also disassembled into
    nondeterminate transformations, effectively scrambling the visible
    logical code structure and making it impossible to reverse. After the
    code transformation, it remains executable and working as it is
    supposed to but it cannot be analysed, modified, or circumvented.
    It is not just a question about code encryption but also code
    transformation. You can optionally wrap additional parts of your code,
    at a source code level, in special flags which then transform into
    virtually impossible code to trace, crack, or bypass. Protected code
    blocks are never decrypted during execution they remain in their
    transformed code state. Code restoration becomes an NP-hard problem.
    EXECryptor has the innovative very powerful antidebug, antitrace and
    import protection features to stop the latest cracking software.
    EXECryptor allows to use short registration keys of 12/16 characters
    long, based on a new generation of our HardKey algorithm,
    cryptographically strong ultrashort digital signature.
    The power of software protection with EXECryptor is proved out in
    practice: despite numberous cracking attempts and challenges, the
    EXECryptor's 2.x series has not been cracked since its inception in
    July of 2004.
    In addition to its advanced protection features, EXECryptor allows you
    to compress the code and resources of your application.
    EXECryptor is able to protect any 32bit PE executable file (exe, dll,
    bpl, vxd, wdm). It has been tested with W95/98/ME/2000/NT/XP/2003. SDKs
    are available for Delphi, C++Builder, Microsoft Visual C++, LCC,
    PellesC, Visual Basic, PowerBASIC and PureBasic.

    What's new in this version :
    * added sdk and example for IBasic
    * improved antidebug and antitrace
    * improved: compatibility with MS signcode tool
    * improved: PowerBasic 8 compatible
    EXECryptor is distributed electronically over the Internet; free trial
    version is available at http://www.strongbit.com for evaluation.

    * Operating system: Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003
    * RAM: 32 Mb
    * Hard Disk: 2.5 Mb
    Product Page: http://www.strongbit.com/execryptor.asp
    Download: http://www.softcomplete.com/download/execryptor.zip
    Buy Link: http://www.strongbit.com/order.asp
     
    SoftComplete, Oct 28, 2005
    #1
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  2. SoftComplete

    Jim Watt Guest

    On 28 Oct 2005 02:46:20 -0700, "SoftComplete" <>
    wrote:

    <snip>

    >No solution ? Well there is


    but does it prevent advertising in newsgroups ?
    --
    Jim Watt
    http://www.gibnet.com
     
    Jim Watt, Oct 28, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. SoftComplete

    Imhotep Guest

    Jim Watt wrote:

    > On 28 Oct 2005 02:46:20 -0700, "SoftComplete" <>
    > wrote:
    >
    > <snip>
    >
    >>No solution ? Well there is

    >
    > but does it prevent advertising in newsgroups ?
    > --
    > Jim Watt
    > http://www.gibnet.com


    hahaha...
     
    Imhotep, Oct 28, 2005
    #3
  4. SoftComplete

    x1134x Guest

    SoftComplete wrote:
    > Software piracy! Cracked serial numbers! Thousands of commercial
    > products are posted on the warez sites and become available to all
    > every day! Companies lose millions of dollars every year to software
    > piracy, and faulty protection programs.



    They don't lose near that much. You cannot get blood from a stone.
    Just because someone circumvented copy-protection does not mean that
    the originator LOST money. No money was ever invovled. If they
    thought the product was reasonably priced they would have just bought
    it in the first place. The reason people try to circumvent
    copy-protection is because they are aghast at the price of the product,
    and find it to be out of their reasonable spending range. If the person
    were unable to defeat the copy protection, they would not automatically
    fork up the money for the product, they would more than likely go
    without, or seek a cheaper alternative.

    Not saying what they are doing is RIGHT, just saying that it irritates
    the hell out of me to hear that "Millions of dollars are lost to
    piracy" because it just wasn't "lost" there was no money involved, and
    the reason for further investigating circumvention hinges on the fact
    that the person *WILL NOT* pay that much for it.

    x1134x
     
    x1134x, Oct 29, 2005
    #4
  5. SoftComplete

    Imhotep Guest

    x1134x wrote:

    >
    > SoftComplete wrote:
    >> Software piracy! Cracked serial numbers! Thousands of commercial
    >> products are posted on the warez sites and become available to all
    >> every day! Companies lose millions of dollars every year to software
    >> piracy, and faulty protection programs.

    >
    >
    > They don't lose near that much. You cannot get blood from a stone.
    > Just because someone circumvented copy-protection does not mean that
    > the originator LOST money. No money was ever invovled. If they
    > thought the product was reasonably priced they would have just bought
    > it in the first place. The reason people try to circumvent
    > copy-protection is because they are aghast at the price of the product,
    > and find it to be out of their reasonable spending range. If the person
    > were unable to defeat the copy protection, they would not automatically
    > fork up the money for the product, they would more than likely go
    > without, or seek a cheaper alternative.
    >
    > Not saying what they are doing is RIGHT, just saying that it irritates
    > the hell out of me to hear that "Millions of dollars are lost to
    > piracy" because it just wasn't "lost" there was no money involved, and
    > the reason for further investigating circumvention hinges on the fact
    > that the person *WILL NOT* pay that much for it.
    >
    > x1134x



    Very well put....

    Imhotep
     
    Imhotep, Oct 29, 2005
    #5
  6. "x1134x" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > SoftComplete wrote:
    > > Software piracy! Cracked serial numbers! Thousands of commercial
    > > products are posted on the warez sites and become available to all
    > > every day! Companies lose millions of dollars every year to software
    > > piracy, and faulty protection programs.

    >
    > They don't lose near that much. You cannot get blood from a stone.
    > Just because someone circumvented copy-protection does not mean that
    > the originator LOST money. No money was ever invovled.


    Well, quite. The company would have gained at least some money from sales
    (although undoubtedly not all). I'll even give a Real World(tm) example..

    A while back, we received a helpdesk request from a customer that was
    evidently running our software, but hadn't bought it from us or - so we
    thought at the time - one of our authorised resellers. We explained that we
    couldn't find their contract, and would they please send in the license
    file.

    Definite eau de rattus rattus: the file worked, but was nothing like the one
    that would be generated by the legitimate tool. It was a crack.

    So, did we "lose" hundreds of thousands of dollars? No. But we didn't *make*
    hundreds of thousands of dollars because a Dutch reseller was flogging
    pirated code and maintenance contracts that didn't exist - when they /did/
    get a problem, they pretended it was pre-sales, and got someone like me to
    help.

    We had a similar situation with some hooky keys bought for a very old
    version of the product (at a massive discount, but subject to a stock
    rotation charge) that were transformed into "valid" keys in a different
    country.

    A fellow techie (and good friend) in our Dutch office lost his commission
    due to that.. the Italian reseller was dumped in no uncertain terms, and has
    now gone bust. The Swiss architect of the deal is currently still in gaol -
    if wasn't just our stuff that he got "inventive" with. The former employee
    (that I personally suspect of being involved with the crack mentioned above)
    was prosecuted, but stayed out of clink.

    I suppose that you could say that at least we made _something_ - but a
    half-million dollars less than we would have reasonably expected to.

    > If they
    > thought the product was reasonably priced they would have just bought
    > it in the first place. The reason people try to circumvent
    > copy-protection is because they are aghast at the price of the product,
    > and find it to be out of their reasonable spending range.


    While I definitely agree about some products, this definitely doesn't apply
    to others (ours usually pays for itself in 9 months, and the warez lists are
    loaded with software costing £50 or less).

    In our case, I can also put my hand on my heart and say that this most
    definitely isn't stuff that a general retail user would purchase - the only
    reason for cracking would be to sell it illegally to a business, or to
    deploy DR licenses to a live environment (seen that as well, in a French
    bank of all places!)

    We've since upgraded our copy protection. A lot. Enough to make it a bit of
    a PITA - and a hardware-based solution is out, because we're cross-platform.

    > If the person
    > were unable to defeat the copy protection, they would not automatically
    > fork up the money for the product, they would more than likely go
    > without, or seek a cheaper alternative.
    >
    > Not saying what they are doing is RIGHT, just saying that it irritates
    > the hell out of me to hear that "Millions of dollars are lost to
    > piracy" because it just wasn't "lost" there was no money involved, and
    > the reason for further investigating circumvention hinges on the fact
    > that the person *WILL NOT* pay that much for it.


    Absolutely. Just be wary of saying that stealing a Ferrari from the factory
    is fine, because someone /might/ not have bought it

    (If you see what I mean... ;o)

    --

    Hairy One Kenobi

    Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this opinion do not necessarily
    reflect the opinions of the highly-opinionated person expressing the opinion
    in the first place. So there!
     
    Hairy One Kenobi, Oct 29, 2005
    #6
  7. SoftComplete

    Jim Watt Guest

    On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 11:27:36 GMT, "Hairy One Kenobi"
    <abuse@[127.0.0.1]> wrote:

    <snip>

    >Absolutely. Just be wary of saying that stealing a Ferrari from the factory
    >is fine, because someone /might/ not have bought it


    Of course the difference is that the Ferrari cost money to make
    wheras copies of software involve no cost to the manufacturer.

    However, on trying to sell someone our payroll package, they
    already had a nice one, does it do xyz oh yes. indeed it did all
    the things ours did because it was. Pleased to say they went
    bust.

    But a lot of the 'piracy costs millions' is hype.
    --
    Jim Watt
    http://www.gibnet.com
     
    Jim Watt, Oct 29, 2005
    #7
  8. SoftComplete

    Imhotep Guest

    Jim Watt wrote:

    > On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 11:27:36 GMT, "Hairy One Kenobi"
    > <abuse@[127.0.0.1]> wrote:
    >
    > <snip>
    >
    >>Absolutely. Just be wary of saying that stealing a Ferrari from the
    >>factory is fine, because someone /might/ not have bought it

    >
    > Of course the difference is that the Ferrari cost money to make
    > wheras copies of software involve no cost to the manufacturer.
    >
    > However, on trying to sell someone our payroll package, they
    > already had a nice one, does it do xyz oh yes. indeed it did all
    > the things ours did because it was. Pleased to say they went
    > bust.
    >
    > But a lot of the 'piracy costs millions' is hype.
    > --
    > Jim Watt
    > http://www.gibnet.com


    I agree....it is hyped to persuade legislators to pass laws protecting
    software companies and the entertainment industry....

    Im
     
    Imhotep, Oct 29, 2005
    #8
  9. "Jim Watt" <_way> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 11:27:36 GMT, "Hairy One Kenobi"
    > <abuse@[127.0.0.1]> wrote:
    >
    > <snip>
    >
    > >Absolutely. Just be wary of saying that stealing a Ferrari from the

    factory
    > >is fine, because someone /might/ not have bought it

    >
    > Of course the difference is that the Ferrari cost money to make
    > wheras copies of software involve no cost to the manufacturer.


    Yes and no to that one: you recoup your development cost from your expected
    sales. Until you make that back, you're down (I'm utterly sure that you well
    understand this, but I'm trying to make it crystal clear to everyone..)

    In other words, if you invest $1m developing something and expect to sell
    exactly two, a price of less than $500k is going to leave you in trouble.

    Expect to sell 100k of 'em, and you can start the bidding at $10 plus your
    profit, cost of capital, etc. If, OTOH, you expect 90% of the 100k users to
    be using pirated copies, you set the price a bar higher, at $100. So that
    the 10% of legitimate users end up footing the entire development bill.

    Of course, the pirates then respond that they're only doing it because the
    software costs ten times what it should...

    Basically a chicken-and-egg situation.

    > However, on trying to sell someone our payroll package, they
    > already had a nice one, does it do xyz oh yes. indeed it did all
    > the things ours did because it was. Pleased to say they went
    > bust.


    Ditto - that's why we've pretty much pulled out of the Far Eastern market:
    there are a helluva lot of legitimate customers to be had, but it just got
    too expensive to compete against our own software :eek:\

    > But a lot of the 'piracy costs millions' is hype.


    Agreed. Particularly in the music industry - wish they'd make up their mind
    as to whether I'm buying a license or the media. Having already had money
    from me for both vinyl and CD, damned if I'm going to start buying the whole
    lot all over again in electronic format!

    H1K
     
    Hairy One Kenobi, Oct 29, 2005
    #9
  10. SoftComplete

    Imhotep Guest

    Hairy One Kenobi wrote:

    > "Jim Watt" <_way> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 11:27:36 GMT, "Hairy One Kenobi"
    >> <abuse@[127.0.0.1]> wrote:
    >>
    >> <snip>
    >>
    >> >Absolutely. Just be wary of saying that stealing a Ferrari from the

    > factory
    >> >is fine, because someone /might/ not have bought it

    >>
    >> Of course the difference is that the Ferrari cost money to make
    >> wheras copies of software involve no cost to the manufacturer.

    >
    > Yes and no to that one: you recoup your development cost from your
    > expected sales. Until you make that back, you're down (I'm utterly sure
    > that you well understand this, but I'm trying to make it crystal clear to
    > everyone..)
    >
    > In other words, if you invest $1m developing something and expect to sell
    > exactly two, a price of less than $500k is going to leave you in trouble.
    >
    > Expect to sell 100k of 'em, and you can start the bidding at $10 plus your
    > profit, cost of capital, etc. If, OTOH, you expect 90% of the 100k users
    > to be using pirated copies, you set the price a bar higher, at $100. So
    > that the 10% of legitimate users end up footing the entire development
    > bill.


    Here in the United States the insurance companies used the same claim that
    "bad" drivers were jacking up the costs for "good" drivers. The started a
    points system and behold, people started getting in less accidents and
    making less general driving infractions (speeding, etc). Now, they want to
    change the points system to a system based on your credit (even though your
    credit has nothing to do with your driving skill). So, what is the point?
    The point is that companies will use any excuse they can to justify
    increasing their profits (including bold faced lies)

    <snip>

    Imhotep
     
    Imhotep, Oct 29, 2005
    #10
  11. SoftComplete

    Jim Watt Guest

    On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 11:00:55 -0400, Imhotep <>
    wrote:

    <snip>

    >The point is that companies will use any excuse they can to justify
    >increasing their profits (including bold faced lies)


    We seem to be straying from the fields of agreement to those
    of dubious politics :)

    The object of companies is to make a profit for their shareholders
    - I wish that Marconi, Telewest and others had done that then I
    might be able to buy the latest MS software ...


    --
    Jim Watt
    http://www.gibnet.com
     
    Jim Watt, Oct 29, 2005
    #11
  12. SoftComplete

    Jim Watt Guest

    On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 14:46:42 GMT, "Hairy One Kenobi"
    <abuse@[127.0.0.1]> wrote:

    >> But a lot of the 'piracy costs millions' is hype.

    >
    >Agreed. Particularly in the music industry - wish they'd make up their mind
    >as to whether I'm buying a license or the media. Having already had money
    >from me for both vinyl and CD, damned if I'm going to start buying the whole
    >lot all over again in electronic format!


    I think you were always buying a licence, looking at the wording
    on my vinyl, it sought to restrain me from broadcasting the work.

    You are right about the cost of software, but your analogy with the
    car is not the same as the software.

    The one that puzzles me was my attempt at shareware, which was
    half decent and achieved 10,000 downloads yet not one registration
    I'm tempted to post a keygen for it to see if anyone is interested.

    Quickly checking google, I see the software available on a number of
    warez disks, yet without a licence code its not very useful at all
    and the security was pretty good and specific to the machine.


    --
    Jim Watt
    http://www.gibnet.com
     
    Jim Watt, Oct 29, 2005
    #12
  13. "Imhotep" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hairy One Kenobi wrote:
    > > "Jim Watt" <_way> wrote in message
    > > news:...
    > >> On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 11:27:36 GMT, "Hairy One Kenobi"
    > >> <abuse@[127.0.0.1]> wrote:
    > >>
    > >> <snip>
    > >>
    > >> >Absolutely. Just be wary of saying that stealing a Ferrari from the

    > > factory
    > >> >is fine, because someone /might/ not have bought it
    > >>
    > >> Of course the difference is that the Ferrari cost money to make
    > >> wheras copies of software involve no cost to the manufacturer.

    > >
    > > Yes and no to that one: you recoup your development cost from your
    > > expected sales. Until you make that back, you're down (I'm utterly sure
    > > that you well understand this, but I'm trying to make it crystal clear

    to
    > > everyone..)
    > >
    > > In other words, if you invest $1m developing something and expect to

    sell
    > > exactly two, a price of less than $500k is going to leave you in

    trouble.
    > >
    > > Expect to sell 100k of 'em, and you can start the bidding at $10 plus

    your
    > > profit, cost of capital, etc. If, OTOH, you expect 90% of the 100k users
    > > to be using pirated copies, you set the price a bar higher, at $100. So
    > > that the 10% of legitimate users end up footing the entire development
    > > bill.

    >
    > Here in the United States the insurance companies used the same claim that
    > "bad" drivers were jacking up the costs for "good" drivers. The started a
    > points system and behold, people started getting in less accidents and
    > making less general driving infractions (speeding, etc). Now, they want to
    > change the points system to a system based on your credit (even though

    your
    > credit has nothing to do with your driving skill). So, what is the point?
    > The point is that companies will use any excuse they can to justify
    > increasing their profits (including bold faced lies)


    Firstly, apologies for letting that post sit on the screen for a while
    (didn't see your reply)

    Funnily enough, this system - known as the No-Claims Bonus - has been in
    operation for a fair few decades (longer than I've been driving, which makes
    it more than 20 years old). The latter system - variously tried, but only
    really properly implemented during our current regime - is used for driving
    fines: the severity of a sentence depends upon the ability to pay, rather
    than the actual crime.

    As Jim says: politics, rather than a comment on pricing.

    I still stand by my comments, though - software piracy /can/ push up costs
    for honest users, and can also be used as excuses for profiteers.

    Just to add a twist to this: excessive piracy /could/ (stress "could") also
    have a major impact on professionally-written Open Source software and
    freeware.

    Put it this way, if the Industry starts to implode at a greater rate, then
    I've got the choice of coding to eat, or of changing careers to make ends
    meet. Can't see much scope in that for giving up spare time to generate
    software that I'll simply give away... same with many other people in the
    Industry.

    H1K
     
    Hairy One Kenobi, Oct 29, 2005
    #13
  14. "Jim Watt" <_way> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 14:46:42 GMT, "Hairy One Kenobi"
    > <abuse@[127.0.0.1]> wrote:
    >
    > >> But a lot of the 'piracy costs millions' is hype.

    > >
    > >Agreed. Particularly in the music industry - wish they'd make up their

    mind
    > >as to whether I'm buying a license or the media. Having already had money
    > >from me for both vinyl and CD, damned if I'm going to start buying the

    whole
    > >lot all over again in electronic format!

    >
    > I think you were always buying a licence, looking at the wording
    > on my vinyl, it sought to restrain me from broadcasting the work.


    Indeed. But the whole industry becomes strangely at odds with that view if
    you buy the same CD as an LP that you already own - the license is
    [uniquely] bound to the medium. Not that it /says/ so explicitly, of
    course...

    > You are right about the cost of software, but your analogy with the
    > car is not the same as the software.


    How so..? OK, so the bits to make a Ferrari cost a deal more than a CD,
    package, distribution, support, and a 35% minimum retailer discount, but..
    we're just arguing in the same way as Wilde: not over what's on offer, but
    merely the price.

    > The one that puzzles me was my attempt at shareware, which was
    > half decent and achieved 10,000 downloads yet not one registration
    > I'm tempted to post a keygen for it to see if anyone is interested.
    >
    > Quickly checking google, I see the software available on a number of
    > warez disks, yet without a licence code its not very useful at all
    > and the security was pretty good and specific to the machine.


    Haven't checked warez sites (I've had around 34k direct downloads since
    2003, but all freeware - with a thoroughly open license, there's no point in
    even pretending that someone is saving money!
    http://www.codecutters.org/software/license.html)

    Not sure how the overall development "cost" would stack up, if declared - I
    don't take notes of my free time ;o)

    Personally, I pay for decent shareware (and "naggers" violate my view of
    "decent"). Most of it's crap, TBH. The good stuff is worth the payment but,
    TBH, I think that shareware has pretty much been killed by a combination of
    cooperative freeware and the ease in being able to simply sell software over
    the 'Net.

    Anything that purports to do something useful, but actually doesn't without
    a license key, well, that doesn't get too far down my personal evaluation
    procedure...

    IMHO, of course :eek:)

    H1K
     
    Hairy One Kenobi, Oct 30, 2005
    #14
  15. SoftComplete

    Jim Watt Guest

    On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 23:13:25 GMT, "Hairy One Kenobi"
    <abuse@[127.0.0.1]> wrote:

    Generally in agreement, however if we can come up with a method
    of copying Ferrari's with the ease that software, CD's and DVD's
    can be churned out on a PC its an earner.

    My first CD burner cost 1400 quid and the media 14 pounds a pop
    as that was more than the cost of a pressed audio CD there was
    no incentive.

    And you tell that to kids today and they don't believe you ... :)


    --
    Jim Watt
    http://www.gibnet.com
     
    Jim Watt, Oct 30, 2005
    #15
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