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Protecting my Access database

Posted on 2009-07-04
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Last Modified: 2013-12-13
I have an Access database that I send out to clients as an MDE file.  I have some security built into the code, but my concern is mainly along the lines of someone being able to decompile it and getting into the code/forms (via a third party product) .

I do appreciate that most of my clients wouldn't go down this route, but I feel that I need to know how secure things are.
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Question by:Andy Brown
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peter57r earned 300 total points
ID: 24777214
You might want to look at this.

http://www.everythingaccess.com/mdeprotector.htm

One service offered by that site is to reverse engineer an mde to an mdb.
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LVL 58

Assisted Solution

by:Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)
Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE) earned 100 total points
ID: 24777254
<<I have an Access database that I send out to clients as an MDE file.  I have some security built into the code, but my concern is mainly along the lines of someone being able to decompile it and getting into the code/forms (via a third party product) .>>
  A MDE is simply a MDB with all the source code stripped out.  For someone to get your source code, they would need to de-compile all the pcode.
 To my knowledge, no one has ever done that to date (created a VBA de-compiler). There are a couple of companies out there that can read the p-code and glean things from it and write *new* code that is equivalent, but they cannot simply take your project and de-compile it effortlessly.  It takes quite of bit of doing to get equivalent source code. So all in all, someone would need to go through a lot of effort to even come close to the source.
 As for the objects, that's a different story.  A MDE does nothing to protect those.  Only user level security does that and it's easily breakable.  Anyone can get you object definitions and properties from a MDB or MDE.
JimD.
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LVL 38

Assisted Solution

by:Jim P.
Jim P. earned 100 total points
ID: 24777276
The other thing to do is put in a trademark or copyright notice with contact info at the top of every module and create and "about" box that gives your contact info as well.

Most scrupulous companies that would do a reverse engineering type thing would hopefully contact you that they had been asked to do it. Or reject the request out of hand.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Andy Brown
ID: 31599777
Thanks guys - that's some really good information.  I think I'll purchase the "source code protector" (as it can only be a good thing).
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Jim P.
ID: 24777337
Glad to be of assistance. May all your days get brighter and brighter.
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Author Comment

by:Andy Brown
ID: 24777342
Thank you - you also.
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