Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Licence keys

It's been a while since my last post, and I apologize a lot for that.. So much stuff has been going on lately :(

Anyway, today I'm gonna talk a little about licence keys. We all know that when we install a certain game on our computer, in many cases it requires us to enter a CD-key to install the program. This sort of thing is used a lot of other places as well - not just on games. Licence keys are also located in shareware programs and licenced programs to keep track of Expiration dates and to make sure the product key isn't shared with others. These keys are usually comfirmed online to see if they're real and to see if they're being used on more than 1 computer at a time. Certain programs even give you an online account where you register your key into and then have to be logged onto the internet for the program to run properly.

The keys themselves are developed from advanced mathematical algorithms and are thus able to be cracked. This is where the so called "Key-generators" come in. They provide you with keys in the advanced key algorithm that are accepted by the program at first. However, in many of todays programs and games, when you try to go online with it - you'll be stopped by a server check if your key is fake.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Digital rights management (DRM)

It's been a while since my last post seeing as I've been rather busy lately.. But here's another stage of the security posts - DRM.

Basicly DRM technologies is used in some cases to limit the amount of times a user can install his game on seperate computers (usually limited to 5). Now this causes a whole lot of problems in and of itself, seeing as if you format your harddrive, get some new hardware or uninstall the game to find out you want to play it again later, you'd have problems! This limits the end user quite a bit and has been seeing a lot of critic from a lot of people. Spore was especially in the spotlight of this rage amongst the users, and it not really being used as much now adays anymore. Instead we're seeing Ubisoft's DRM system enter the light - also explained in the last post (as it is in fact a merge of the 2 parts). As previously mentioned, Ubisoft simple had parts of their game stored on a server meaning cracking it took a long time.

DRM technology is not only used for games, but also E-books, music, films and a lot of other digital things. There is also a DRM system called "DRM-X" which requires you to use special software to access the file. This system has however not been implemented in any of the modern games I've seen so far and I think it's mostly used for E-books.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Online Accounting

We're going a bit simple today! The next anti-pirating on the board here is going to be online accounting services. This includes but is not limited to World of Warcraft, Symantic software, Windows Live and Ubisoft's Assassins Creed 2.

The way these generally work is to make the user log into an account every time he wants to play the game to verify the CD-key is correct and that the game hasn't been cracked by any means. Ubisoft and Blizzard both has games where the game data (graphics, sounds etc) are stored on the users computer, while the object positions are stored on the servers of the publishers and downloaded on the go by the user. The only way to basically get around this protection is for a cracker to create an emulation of the server. This requires them to program and figure all the codes of the server themselves, which often is no easy task - even for skilled programmers. (Surely though, creating emulated servers and running them is against the Copyright law.. So as always, you'll need a good atorney if you get caught! If you've been making money on the server, you'd surely be facing a chapter 13 personal bankruptcy! Haha!)

How do you feel about having to log in every time you play a game?