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Hide fragmented Key Codes in registry?

Posted on 2006-06-08
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Last Modified: 2010-04-17
It's been suggested to me to hide a fragmented key code (approx. 25 pieces) in the OS registry to prevent program piracy.

Q. Is it safe to write new sub values within the pre-existing Windows registry keys?

I thought this might be more stealth than creating entire new tracable keys and subkeys.

Opinions and advice needed..............
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Question by:kvnsdr
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by:MySt1k
MySt1k earned 50 total points
ID: 16867227
this is security trough obscurity, might not work very well vs a good softice programmer...
While tracing where your application get this fragment, the ppl will eventually have acces to all fragments.

well, this is only my 2 cent...
i'll let other ppl give solutions.

good luck !
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by:kvnsdr
ID: 16869698
...good softice programmer?
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Mikeh926 earned 200 total points
ID: 16869896
SoftIce is a debugging tool, commonly favoured by hackers/crackers.

Depends what you mean by "safe"!

Yes, it's fairly safe to go and stick your own keys amongst all of the window's keys as long as you pick obscure names so you don't go accidentally altering how windows works! You also would have to be carefull not to put a key somewhere a user might delete the entire branch, maybe because they are trying to remove an app or fix an error.

As for whether it's safe from hackers finding it, I take the view that it someone really wants to hack your code, and they are experienced enough, they probably will. I think you have to weigh up the ammount of effort you want to put into your protection vs the likelyhood that expert hackers will try and break it. I don't think any protection scheme will be totally secure ... but that's probably a discussion for another topic.

Mike.
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by:kvnsdr
ID: 16871285
I agree that determined theives cannot be stopped.

However, why simply give it to them by doing little or nothing.

I would guess that successful software companies probably change their licensing code often....

I think continual change is the answer..........
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by:Mikeh926
Mikeh926 earned 200 total points
ID: 16871400
True, but when you analyse the problem in more detail, I don't think that you will find many people attempting to copy software directly from one PC to another. Most software creates so many registry and file entires, com objects, etc, that it's almost impossible to copy it to another PC. It's much easier just to copy the original installation CD or internet download exe. What you really want is a mechanism that either prevents that, or makes such a copy worthless. In our case, we have two different copy protection mechanisms, one is based upon a hardware dongle, the other is a form of internet activation where the software is locked to the specific PC that it's installed to. We also have mechanisms to detect if anyone has hacked the software, so we can change the system for the next version...

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by:kvnsdr
ID: 16872672
Do you think that Harddrive cloning is an issue?
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by:Mikeh926
Mikeh926 earned 200 total points
ID: 16883773
I think it depends on who the software is targetted for. If you have software that a school or business wants to copy it then they might install it once and clone the hard disk image to all the PC's on their network. This is a pretty standard way of deploying software in large corporations. In this case, you have to be carefull that your software protection doesn't make it so inconvenient for the legitimate customer that they device not to buy your software in the first place! I don't see most home users going to the lengths of hard disk cloning to get a copy from their mate. In any case, if you have access to a PC and the ability to clone the hard disk, you probably have access to the original media that the software was instaleld from. What is your distribution mechanism for the software? CD? Download?
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by:kvnsdr
ID: 16894074
Only download. All downloads require a proper login which inturn is required for latter purchase.

My target sales is corporation networks. So cloning may pose a threat.

You suggest very good points.......
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