How to protect my software

43 replies
What do you folks use to protect your software and to disable pirated software?

Rick
#protect #software
  • Profile picture of the author jenhuei
    Do you mean you are developing a software and want to protect it from being pirated by other people?
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  • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
    Originally Posted by hometutor View Post

    What do you folks use to protect your software and to disable pirated software?

    Rick
    Hey Rick

    We have used something new that we are still testing on our software and when a person does try to play around with the software or try and change it anyway then what it was indented it will erase there hard drive

    And they won't know till it is too late , but as I say when we get the system working perfect will PM you to try if you want

    Jason
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    • Profile picture of the author hometutor
      lol @ Jason oh quick make me the beta tester

      Yes it's software I developed. One goal is to be able to disable it so I can allow cancellations and trials

      Rick
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    • Profile picture of the author CMartin
      Jason,
      Originally Posted by Regional Warrior View Post

      We have used something new that we are still testing on our software and when a person does try to play around with the software or try and change it anyway then what it was indented it will erase there hard drive

      And they won't know till it is too late , but as I say when we get the system working perfect will PM you to try if you want

      Jason
      So, if a user has his PC infected with a virus that changes your software, you'll erase their hard drive?

      Are you really serious about this?

      Carlos
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    • Profile picture of the author AFI
      Originally Posted by Regional Warrior View Post

      Hey Rick

      We have used something new that we are still testing on our software and when a person does try to play around with the software or try and change it anyway then what it was indented it will erase there hard drive
      Is that legal? Basically you're inventing malware?
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  • Profile picture of the author WD Mino
    Hi,
    You could use clicklocker

    It is a great little program that allows you to disable if the software is installed on a non licensed machine. Also gives you the ability to resest the licenses if your customer changes their computer etc. very awesome. :: ClickLocker.com :: Digital Product Security System no affiliation
    -WD

    Edit*** you can also use a shareware creator if you want to offer trial version
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    • Profile picture of the author hometutor
      Clicklocker looks promising. It states it would allow me to do a membership service for my software.

      Here's a quick brainstorm of an idea as well

      Use a wp plugin to create a free membership site or at the very least make a post members only

      Ping the post at the beginning of the program after giving users a chance to log in

      Now I can block them if they haven't purchased the software and it's now basically unusable

      Customers must remain registered with my wordpress and thus can receive emails from me for offers updates etc.

      What do you all think?

      Rick
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      • Profile picture of the author hometutor
        Sorry guys

        All I had were sixes in the number and I got superstitious

        Rick
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      • Profile picture of the author CMartin
        Rick,
        Originally Posted by hometutor View Post

        Use a wp plugin to create a free membership site or at the very least make a post members only

        Ping the post at the beginning of the program after giving users a chance to log in

        Now I can block them if they haven't purchased the software and it's now basically unusable

        Customers must remain registered with my wordpress and thus can receive emails from me for offers updates etc.

        What do you all think?

        Rick
        That's an approach, but it depends on how you software will work (needs to connect to Internet to work?) and if it's a monthly subscription or not.

        If it's *not* a subscription (paid once) the software should only need to check with your database to validate the license key once - at installation. Or even no need to check with your database if you create a license mechanism that generates a license key for a specific machine.

        If it's for example a monthly subscription, the software should only check once a month with your database and not every single time they try to use the software.

        If you will require the software to connect to a server to validate/generate the license, make sure your site is hosted in a high reliable hosting company to avoid complains from users just because your site is down.

        But don't waste a lot of resources on this, because if someone wants to break you license/protection mechanism, they will.

        What I recommend is to NOT complicate the process to your *customers* - the easier the best. Your customers are not the casual thieves


        Carlos
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  • Profile picture of the author MrSonic
    regnow.com offers great solutions

    dave
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  • Profile picture of the author samstephens
    Hi Rick,

    Do you have access to the source code of your software?

    If so, DLGuard has a built in call-home feature that you can use for validation.

    Basically you set up your software to ask your customer for their email and receipt from their purchase when it first starts, and then at whatever intervals you want, you can have it send those details to DLGuard, and DLGuard will reply as to whether or not they're valid and haven't been refunded.

    Let me know if you'd like me to clarify further!

    cheers
    Sam
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    • Profile picture of the author aritrim
      Originally Posted by samstephens View Post

      Hi Rick,

      Do you have access to the source code of your software?

      If so, DLGuard has a built in call-home feature that you can use for validation.

      Basically you set up your software to ask your customer for their email and receipt from their purchase when it first starts, and then at whatever intervals you want, you can have it send those details to DLGuard, and DLGuard will reply as to whether or not they're valid and haven't been refunded.

      Let me know if you'd like me to clarify further!

      cheers
      Sam
      +1 to this method. Nothing can beat this method for refund related abuses.

      However with a specific counter tied to the IPs, the same method can be extended preventing it from passing to other people in non-refund piracy abuses.
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      • Profile picture of the author hometutor
        Originally Posted by aritrim View Post

        +1 to this method. Nothing can beat this method for refund related abuses.

        However with a specific counter tied to the IPs, the same method can be extended preventing it from passing to other people in non-refund piracy abuses.
        So it's not automatic then? I do something by hand?

        Rick
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  • Profile picture of the author tobby22
    You cannot protect 100%. You can use an activation key,but can be cracked. You can minimize all these aspects by putting keys.
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  • Profile picture of the author brettb
    I sell B2B software - businesses are much more likely to buy software as they have internal systems for making sure all their software is legit.
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  • Profile picture of the author mmaeb
    massive subject - 100% safe? NOTHING is; every protection mechanism can be thwarted. call backs, disablers etc you can certainly make it harder but 100% nope,
    you have only to look at MS who have a huge amount of capital to throw at this issue and its still a huge problem for them.

    not trying to put you off atempting to protect your stuff (you should!) but at least research the subject and be informed

    data wiping a pc, interesting but I'm certain you would be breaking laws left right and centre, good luck with that one
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  • Profile picture of the author eiilers
    I recommend SoftLocker. It's the best one I have seen. Even allows you to "remote disable" the software, on a per-client basis (in case they stop paying you a subscription, initiate a charge back, etc). And you can integrate it into your shopping cart to make everything automated (for license key generation).
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  • Profile picture of the author angillo88
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author hometutor
      If I understand your question yes it's mine, I wrote the code, and I'd like to keep it from being passed around without getting to feed the family and pay my bills with my work.

      Rick
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      • Profile picture of the author samstephens
        Originally Posted by hometutor View Post

        If I understand your question yes it's mine, I wrote the code, and I'd like to keep it from being passed around without getting to feed the family and pay my bills with my work.

        Rick
        No worries, Rick - the reason I ask is there are products around that "create software" for you, but it's just basically an EXE compiler for glorified spreadsheets.

        Since you're the programmer, and it's actually "real" software, then you've got a LOT of flexability in the way you handle it, which is great.

        Some of the "solutions" you'll see are "wrappers". They take your product, and wrap it in their own EXE file. I'm not a big fan of this method, but that's just my opinion.

        If you have any questions, let me know as I'm happy to help!

        cheers
        Sam
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  • Profile picture of the author ccasselman
    I've been doing software for over 12 years.

    Protecting it and customer service is a tradeoff. The higher one is the lower the other will be.

    Just keep in mind when deciding your desired level of each is that you cannot protect your code 100%. You should do something that is good enough to give you peace of mind, but not something that is going to create a customer support nightmare.
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    • Profile picture of the author gorufus
      Originally Posted by ccasselman View Post

      I've been doing software for over 12 years.

      Protecting it and customer service is a tradeoff. The higher one is the lower the other will be.

      Just keep in mind when deciding your desired level of each is that you cannot protect your code 100%. You should do something that is good enough to give you peace of mind, but not something that is going to create a customer support nightmare.

      I totally agree with this post. If you "wipe" a customers hard drive because you were trying to prevent them from accessing your software, well, think about that person wiping you from being online. Your name, your software and seo and well.... we could all get creative on that one. An example of this would be, YOUR NAME and SOFTWARE is a SCAM on the first three or four pages of the serps... much more of a headache. And that's no piece of mind.

      I think the real gold is in offering the updates on a regular basis for your software. One, you're providing an awesome return for people who purchase your software to keep coming back to YOU to get your awesome software and two, you are keeping those who crack your software continually working to try to figure it out.

      I know this post is long, but I'll end it with this. I have an iPhone and yes it is jailbroken. Not so much for me downloading apps that I didn't pay for, but to add added functionality to my phone that apple doesn't currently offer (they are slow at getting around to the good stuff). I still buy most of my apps from the app store, except the ones that they keep out of their store. For those, I go to the "other" app store and buy them there. I think that is a good example of a good trade-off. Maybe your product is not an ios, but it's a good way to think about your software and your clients.

      Sorry for the long winded post, but I hope it helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author radiotiger
    can we integrate this in any software. is it easy, anyone tried.
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  • Profile picture of the author Coby
    I have a software that requires an activation code to use, but I'm sure it would be easy to crack. But works enough for me, lol. I have other software that will not even allow me to do that much. Of course these are not "real" software since I don't own the source code. I couldn't program software to save my life though if i did, lol.

    I have the activation setup through Aweber, so you could probably do the same with the WP plugin you were talking about and DL Guard sounds like a good option as well.

    Good Luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author TheSEguy
    Use clickloaker it will protect your softare from being used once trials expire or when people cancel.
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  • Profile picture of the author ankur sharma
    well, this is an area where i spent almost thousands of dollars. If you are encryption freak , go for winlicense. Its best out there. But then, you have to be ready for lot of customer support emails. I will suggest do not overprotect your app. Just a simple mechanism. If people break it that should be no issue to you. Think, your paid customers shouldnt suffer because of over the top encryption.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vulk
    I've developed numerous pieces of software and let me tell you absolutely nothing is uncrackable. Depending on what language the program is written can determine how good of a security can be added. Whenever I create new software I try to make it php because it's near to impossible to crack/leak something that's browser/server-side..meaning the only way they can get access is with a login/user. If your program is written in vb.net then I suggest you add a melt feature..meaning when it comes to a certain time period it melts the program from the computer.. Think of something unique on how to add an anti-crack feature.

    - Vulk
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonas B
    you should be able to create an activation, using a database, each customer has a unique id, once it have been used to register, to key turns invalid. I think this is a good solution, also don't forget to obfuscate so it will be harder to decompile the source code and apply changes or hacks.
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    • Profile picture of the author JamieSEO
      SoftLocker and DLGuard have been useful for me, just keep in mind there is no such thing as 100% secure.

      You just make it as secure as you can and hope that hackers don't think the time needed to crack it is worth the effort :p
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      • Profile picture of the author hometutor
        Originally Posted by JamieSEO View Post

        SoftLocker and DLGuard have been useful for me, just keep in mind there is no such thing as 100% secure.

        You just make it as secure as you can and hope that hackers don't think the time needed to crack it is worth the effort :p
        I tried softlocker and didn't quite understand how to use it
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        • Profile picture of the author JamieSEO
          Originally Posted by hometutor View Post

          I tried softlocker and didn't quite understand how to use it
          DLGuard is simpler to use if you have problems with Softlocker
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Originally Posted by ncmedia View Post

    I have a pretty bullet proof system setup for my software, which is an install file for mac and PC.

    It's customized from scratch and integrates with DLguard in a very easy yet extremely secure fashion.

    Basically when a user buys their license is stored server side and the user unlocks their software on first run - so install > run the ap > input your unlock code (emailed to you when you purchased, or you can use the email parameter 'put your email you purchased with in the box and press unlock). Once it's unlocked it let's the user use the ap - and relies on a hidden file in the computer, and an occasional check to the server to audit the license. It basically can't be shared, and a refund stops access to it on the next random server side check (so they may think they got it free, but won't be able to use it for long - and can't share it - and can't access their members area).

    If you want the connect feel free to PM me - I believe my solution was around $300-$400 plus DLG but it's well worth it and does a better job than most tier 1 brand software.

    Sorry, that still won't stop someone from running your software.

    On Win7 all they have to do is block the exe from gaining access to the internet (Windows Firewall Outbound Rules), it's 4 clicks of the mouse & the software will never see that server again.

    If Adobe can't stop people from running their software, I doubt anyone else will.
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  • Profile picture of the author ncmedia
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by ncmedia View Post

      ^ If you block the exe from the net it won't run when it checks for it . Your license needs to be in our DB - and the hidden file is a clusterfack of combined tech...

      I hear your point but don't assume, sometimes the smallest outfits figure out security much better than tier 1's.

      **Also this thread is 2.5 months old.

      Just saying all they have to do is:
      • Buy product
      • Get software license key
      • Block exe
      • Get refund
      • Use software
      And that only takes one buyer, after that it's on every BH forum or torrent site on the net.
      I realize this thread is a couple of months old. I see most of the comments above that think things like Clicklocker will save their software, just not true. If someone wants the software/pdf they'll get it.
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  • Profile picture of the author lconsult
    If your software is expensive, you might consider a hardware dongle from Sentinel, Rainbow Computer | Home.

    The dongle is a USB key that is required to be inserted before the software will run.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hardy Chou
    Almost all software are crackable.

    If you really want to protect your software, your best bet is making web-based applications.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarkMOZ
    I'd send out keys personally. There's no guarantee it won't be shared or cracked eventually, but at least you have some sort of protection for a while. As long as it functions and it's good people will pay for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author g36
    Your software must connect to the internet.

    Here's the detail:
    When the software starts, it checks the key and sends it to your server. If the key is pirated key, the software will be closed or disabled.
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    :)

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  • Profile picture of the author TheGP
    yep, one of the greatest approach i seen, its intergarate software with online part(like some of the interface totally online, or generator of emails or something)

    actually its not just prevent pirates, its prevent buying 1 copy of your product by many people. I had that exeperiense about 2 weeks ago, they created a thread about bying first, then some figured out that part of software its online service, and they decide not bought that))
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  • Profile picture of the author Lex Redbone
    Jason,

    That's pretty cool what you are developing and what you told Rick! If I can assist you, shoot me a PM!

    Regards, Lex
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  • Profile picture of the author seomadness
    I have been developing software and reverse engineering software as a profession for almost 15 years. Even with highly encrypted code and using online verification, it's pretty simple for users to use applications like Wireshark or Charles to intercept tcp/udp packets and alter the communications to allow use of protected software.

    I have wrote protection for several applications that have yet to be cracked. As a matter of fact I just picked up this same job with WSO author of "Video Shadow"

    If you have software that you want protected, please contact me. I can provide protection in multiple ways.
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  • Profile picture of the author cyriljeet
    Folks,

    I created my own code to protect my software from being pirated, but what about post-piracy protection? What about protection after your software is cracked by pirates?

    Yes, I do that too, through a DMCA. Most of the cyberlocker websites like rapidshare, etc., where these software are pirated will honor a dmca every time. So I find my pirated links with research, and then I server a dmca, works well. I do some manual research and I also use a tool called spotpiracy.com.

    You should read up on DMCA. It's a wonderful tool and not abusive like SOPA/PIPA
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    • Profile picture of the author Hut
      Originally Posted by cyriljeet View Post

      Folks,
      What about protection after your software is cracked by pirates?
      I really don't know a solution for offline software but there is a simple solution against online piracy called vitalicense. It makes hacking unprofitable.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheProgrammer
    Originally Posted by hometutor View Post

    What do you folks use to protect your software and to disable pirated software?

    Rick
    I always use my encrypted custom built security, then pack it with some high protection software like Themida, Win License or Enigma Protector.
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  • Profile picture of the author biz_online
    Originally Posted by hometutor View Post

    What do you folks use to protect your software and to disable pirated software?

    Rick
    Use the "Install Shield" Installer. Create a passcode or license key.
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