Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Sat Jun 15 10:12:25 EDT 2002

> One thing I've always thought about is using a foreign constant in the
> algorithm. Something like an reversal of an animal's name (like "noil" for
> "lion") that has nothing to do with the company or product would be fed into
> the algorithm. It's not something that is likely to be guessed, and it would
> be necessary to know in order to hack the algorithm.

...unless they're watching the routine execute in a low-level debugger.

But for purely sentimental reasons I tend to use string constants as part of
the reg arithmetic myself, often the first name of whomever I'm dating at
the time. :)  The arithmetic used is trivial but annoyingly spaghetti-ized;
it's more a test of the cracker's patience than their skill.

Which raises an interesting point: why would someone spend $100-worth of
their time to crack a $70 program?  Ego: these folks live to be the most
reliable supplier of cracks.  In their insular world, reputation is

Some anti-crackers suggest this scheme, temptingly devious in the way it
takes the ego factor into account: between releases, embed any known stolen
reg codes in the software, but don't reject them during registration.
Instead, go ahead and let the program be unlocked -- but kick in a 30-day
timer, after which the user is notified that the reg code was a stolen one
and to contact you if they want a working code.

The sweet part is the effect on the social standing of the
crack-distributor:  he cracks it, it works, so he posts it.  Folks grab it,
find it doesn't really work, and the cracker gets a rep for being sloppy and
unreliable.  :)

Trivia from Reg Code History:  it's been said that for years any MS product
could be unlocked by entering all 1's.  Marketshare over security.

More good reading on the topic:

Defending Shareware Against Cracks

How to shut down acrack sites

And the oft-cited "FRAVIA'S 'HOW TO PROTECT BETTER'"

 Richard Gaskin 
 Fourth World Media Corporation
 Custom Software and Web Development for All Major Platforms
 Developer of WebMerge 2.0: Publish any Database on Any Site
 Ambassador at
 Tel: 323-225-3717                       AIM: FourthWorldInc

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