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anti copy protection for windows platform

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anti copy protection for windows platform

Postby mrthappy » 02 Feb 2012, 18:28

Hello developers,

I have created a game for the windows7 platform and want to put it on the internet for a small fee. I was wondering if anyone knows a good copy protection mechanism which i can use. Until now I found one product that seem to fit my needs, the wrapper from http://www.exesecure.com. Has anyone got experience with this copy mechanism system (or another one)?
Please let me know. And I know that each game will be cracked eventually but I go for the 20/80, so for now I just need something.
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Re: anti copy protection for windows platform

Postby shivachristy » 08 May 2012, 11:02

What approach do people take to stopping their work being pirated?
Last edited by shivachristy on 08 May 2012, 16:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: anti copy protection for windows platform

Postby Fraser » 08 May 2012, 12:44

shivachristy wrote:What approach do people take to stopping there work being pirated?



I have used "software passport" for many years for PC shareware. It's major weakness (as with many solutions) is that it is key based, so one key can unlock all your "friends" copies too. That aside, it is a very hard wrapper to crack when all options are turned on. But setting security to maximum will slow down the application.

The bottom line is this, if the software with protection runs then it CAN be cracked given time. The more popular your software gets the more chance it will be cracked.

PC software has highest chance of being cracked due to the plethora of x86 reverse engineering tools available.

My PC shareware sales have dropped by 80% in the last 3 years, I am only taking 20% of what I used to despite download figures increasing.
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Re: anti copy protection for windows platform

Postby shivachristy » 08 May 2012, 14:23

Hi many thanks for that, Im surprised there isnt a dedicated section on these forums to this isssue.

Is there not a solution of checking of the a website for a unique key to a unique pass which is limited in time session to the IP address? or something similar on the market?

I dont suppose youve got a licence key for software passport I could have... only joking...its not cheap!
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Re: anti copy protection for windows platform

Postby Fraser » 08 May 2012, 16:23

shivachristy wrote:Hi many thanks for that, Im surprised there isnt a dedicated section on these forums to this isssue.

Is there not a solution of checking of the a website for a unique key to a unique pass which is limited in time session to the IP address? or something similar on the market?

I dont suppose youve got a licence key for software passport I could have... only joking...its not cheap!


There are server based DRM solutions that use SSL along with hardened wrapper around app yes. They probably do as you say and constantly revalidate with some expiry time.

No probs... here's a software passport V8 key for you:

88fd12a312-9cb8562132-7332bada55-09589734ffa

Only joking :twisted:

The cost for software passport is a one off payment, $299 entry level (good enough), if you plan on advertising and getting lots of installs it pays for itself quickly. the license lasts forever, but of course you need to buy new license to get new (hardest) version.

There maybe better/cheaper solutions out their, last time I looked was 3 years back.

EDIT:
Server based DRM is no harder to crack, the app is still only as safe as the wrapper. But it does stop casual key sharing, which I imagine happens LOADS in games/entertainment due to kids getting playground kudos for sharing the key.
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Re: anti copy protection for windows platform

Postby broozar » 08 May 2012, 17:56

the expensive software is always the first that is getting cracked. and companies like autodesk or adobe have brilliant copy protection algorithms. it's still only a matter of days until they get hacked. DRM hurts mostly the paying customer (3-machine activation limit, forcing him to be online, filling out reg forms, etc), not the hacker.

if you have to employ a copy protection algorithm, at least show some class.
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/07/serious-sams-drm-is-a-giant-pink-scorpion/
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Re: anti copy protection for windows platform

Postby Fraser » 08 May 2012, 21:16

broozar wrote:the expensive software is always the first that is getting cracked. and companies like autodesk or adobe have brilliant copy protection algorithms. it's still only a matter of days until they get hacked. DRM hurts mostly the paying customer (3-machine activation limit, forcing him to be online, filling out reg forms, etc), not the hacker.

if you have to employ a copy protection algorithm, at least show some class.
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/07/serious-sams-drm-is-a-giant-pink-scorpion

Lol, two level protection, first level with weaker defenses. Introducing the scorpion if only level 2 protection remains.

The developers knew it would get fully cracked as it has been, but hoped the scorpion would cause an internet buzz once discovered by initial crack attempts. As you say, classy.

edit: more interesting copy protection payloads, some good ideas here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copy_protection#Notable_copy_protection_payloads
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Re: anti copy protection for windows platform

Postby gamescorpion » 08 May 2012, 21:56

Its always a constant battle it seems. The more security that is placed in a product to make sure that things are not stolen, the less functional it becomes for an end user. I remember some software that was used in the manufacturing industry that required PHYSICAL KEYS through parallel port and usb port (I'm talking around 5-10 years back now lol) and it got to a point that the corporation got so frustrated with a lost or broken physical key that they just switched vendors and paid DOUBLE to the other vendor for LESS copy protection issues. Ironic and sad but true. I think there has to be an in between level where there is a certain amount of acceptable loss a company is willing to take while at the same time being functional.

At the end of the day the main people we dont want to piss off are the ones actually PAYING for the software. As broozar said about so many forms, online validation, etc. etc. it can piss off an end user who will look at a competing software in the market that may be less of a problem that way and just spend their money there.

Anyways thats my opinion on the topic :)

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Re: anti copy protection for windows platform

Postby Badger » 09 Jul 2012, 23:31

gamescorpion wrote:I remember some software that was used in the manufacturing industry that required PHYSICAL KEYS through parallel port and usb port (I'm talking around 5-10 years back now


True, there are still modern applications that use physical keys. Print industry software comes to mind, requires a USB dongle to run, very expensive, specialised software on critical machines. Needless to say, those dongles are hands off :)
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