Crackproof Your Software

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Overview

This essential resource for software developers highlights the weak points in "well-protected" software, shows how crackers break common protection schemes, and how to defend against crackers. Includes in-depth discussions of anti-debugging and anti-disassembling. The CD-ROM contains compression and encoding software, debuggers and anti-debugging tricks, practical protection demonstrations, and extended examples from the book.

"Crackproof Your Software" is an essential resource for all software ...

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Overview

This essential resource for software developers highlights the weak points in "well-protected" software, shows how crackers break common protection schemes, and how to defend against crackers. Includes in-depth discussions of anti-debugging and anti-disassembling. The CD-ROM contains compression and encoding software, debuggers and anti-debugging tricks, practical protection demonstrations, and extended examples from the book.

"Crackproof Your Software" is an essential resource for all software developers. It effectively teaches how to protect software against unauthorized copying and distribution. The book highlights weak points in seemingly well-protected programs, and software developers will learn how crackers break common protection schemes and how to defend against them.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
You’ve slaved away for years on that Windows application. Your livelihood or your company’s survival depends upon it. And what happens? Someone cracks it and posts the unprotected version on the Internet. Arrgghh. OK, you can’t prevent that forever -- but you can hold off the crackers a good long time with the ideas in Crackproof Your Software.

Software developers are at a huge disadvantage against crackers, because few programmers really understand software protection. Finally, there's a systematic guide to making life harder for the crackers -- without making it any harder than necessary for legitimate users.

Crackproof Your Software begins by walking through each basic type of software protection and its vulnerabilities -- including registration number protection, time limitations, registration key file protection, dongles, and a host of CD protection techniques. Next, software expert Pavol Cerven moves to program compression and encoding, assessing more than a dozen available options (his favorite is PE-SHiELD; several don’t impress him at all). There’s also a full chapter on InstallShield and other commercial software protection programs.

Of course, it’s only a matter of time before new countermeasures show up on the Internet. You really need to prevent debugging if you can. Cerven turns to this next, offering detailed techniques for preventing crackers from using breakpoints, tracers, and debuggers against you -- especially the popular SoftICE and TRW tools. He concludes with a basketful of additional protection tricks, from API hook detection to anti-disassembling macros. Whether you’re writing games or expensive vertical market applications, this is stuff you unfortunately need to know. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781886411791
  • Publisher: No Starch Press San Francisco, CA
  • Publication date: 11/15/2002
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 7.36 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Cerven is a software developer with Alcatel. After a brief stint in the world of PC viruses, he now works to protect software against unauthorized copying.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Chapter 1 Basics 5
Chapter 2 Cracking Tools 9
Chapter 3 The Basic Types of Software Protection 15
Chapter 4 CD Protection Tricks 41
Chapter 5 Program Compression and Encoding: Freeware and Shareware 53
Chapter 6 Commercial Software Protection Programs 75
Chapter 7 Anti-Debugging, Anti-Disassembling, and Other Tricks for Protecting Against SoftICE 95
Chapter 8 Protecting Against Breakpoints, Tracers, and User Debuggers 167
Chapter 9 Other Protection Tricks 185
Chapter 10 Important Structures in Windows 207
Chapter 11 Suggestions for Better Software Protection 225
Glossary 231
About the CD 232
Index 233
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2004

    Human Ingenuity

    Much of current software defenses against crackers consists of preventing or detecting breakins to your computer from across a network. The cracker is inherently at a disadvantage. For one, you (the sysadmin) have physical access to your machine. You can reboot it at will; compare signatures of installed programs against known signatures that are stored readonly; and you can install network analysers and other computers to check your main machine. But there is an entirely different cracker activity where she now has built in edges. This consists of where you write code that others can install on their computers. Your code can end up on a cracker's machine. She has (you have to assume) a good deassembler and decompiler, and is fluent in the assembly language of your code. You don't have it easy. Cerven explains the many measures you might take to protect the running of your code. Alas, for most of these, if not all, over time, a sufficiently talented cracker can find a countermeasure. The book is a tribute to human ingenuity. As a purely intellectual puzzle, you may find his explanations intriguing. He describes a small cottage industry of companies that offer licensing programs that try to control access to your code. The best known may be installshield. This is very common on Microsoft platforms. Also mentioned is flexlm, which unix sysadmins should find familiar. The bottom line is given in the last chapter. A list of suggested best practices. None of which are guaranteed to offer absolute protection. But the cumulative applications of these practices should act as a good deterrent. The only thing that seems to be missing is a discussion of code that comes on DVDs. He describes CDs. Surely by now some large code packages must come on DVDs. (Especially the games.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2003

    Silly book on a silly topic

    As a renowned computer security expert once said, 'trying to make bits not copyable is like trying to make water not wet'. This book goes into detail on tricks to thwart attempts at running debugging tools against programs you develop. Many of the suggestions presented by the book are detailed with plenty of example code given, but are narrow in scope. As such, new debugging and disasssembly tools (which are not susceptible to these tricks) have probably been developed by the time you crack the spine. I have never heard of a commercial program which uses software based anti-crack mechanisms which has not been cracked. At one point in the book, the author suggests that, if possible, you make your program run in ring 0 to thwart some crack attempts. This suggestion alone makes me question the author's competence. This book is interesting if you are curious, but the techniques are a waste of time and completely ineffective. Preventing people from manipulating a program running on a computer they have full control over is impossible.

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