Then... the hackers created a keygen for my product. With it, anyone could enter any ID they wanted and it instantly generated a working registration number. The fact that there was a trojan embedded in this keygen didn't seem to matter. People still downloaded it an used it.
Before I even released my first version, I expected the worst. And I'm glad I did. One of the things I had my little program do was to contact a php file on my server. Along with tracking usage (which you can find in one of my other tutorials) I also had the foresight to compare the user's IP address to a list of cheapskates I manually kept. If the incoming IP address matched one in the list, it sent me an Email letting me know. But I did nothing to them, I kept letting them use their cracked copy. The other thing my little program did was to send the registration ID to my php script. I could then compare it to my database of known PayPal transaction numbers. If it wasn't there, it was a cracked copy. Again, it sent me an Email letting me know, but I again, did nothing.
Hackers are an egotistical bunch. One of the reasons they crack software is simply to prove it can be done. But they're not always intelligent. While they did manage to generate gobs and gobs of fake registration information, they simply overlooked the part where my software contacted that php file when it started up. So here I was, knowing I'd been hacked and I was being notified every single time.
When a hacker releases a crack, they pride themselves in the fact that they did it. Have a look at a keygen sometime (if you're brave enough) and they always include a file with their logo and their names. They want attention. One of the most embarrassing things for a group of hackers is to have their little toys suddenly stop working. They put in all this effort to crack your software and release the crack and then... a month later, it doesn't work any more.
By not acting immediately, I let them think that they successfully cracked my shareware and they moved on to something else. Then, a month later, I began banning registration keys. Anytime my software contacted the server I compared the ID to my known list of good ID's and, if it didn't match, the program simply reset itself back to the demo version and... banned any attempt from that computer to register it again by setting a buried registry key and saving a small file to the hard drive (it's a Windows only program). If that key or the file existed, it simply denied any attempt to register the product. Screw me once, I don't need your money.
My Email notifications of people using cracked registration codes went down from 20 a day to 1 or 2 a week. And, the only way for them to remove the ability my software had to contact the server was to release a completely cracked copy of my software. To date, I haven't found any.
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Yesterday i downloaded a keygen for Ableton cracked by R2R. Shortly after running the keygen exe, I received a notification from windows defender which identified it as a Trojan:Win32/Occamy.B. I deleted the .exe and all files related to ableton.
Re:Chips for securityHard to tell if chips are already compromised. One thing for sure is that RNGs in them are weak (and probably backdoored). Good way to use these chips is to load a key instead of on-board keygen. Split the operations into tiny modules across multiple chips and vendors. This will disallow a single collusion.
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