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View Full Version : Why do they make their software so easy to crack?



blur xc
September 17th, 2009, 05:50 PM
First off- I do not in any way condone piracy! We may have our opinions regarding how software should be distributed, free and open source, for the good of mankind, or proprietary, closed source, for the good of the investors, but we live in a society with laws, and to maintain order we all need to follow those laws whether we agree with them or not!

So- I just have to ask, in this world of super encryptions and everyone having internet access, and piracy running rampant, why do software companies make their software in a way that's so easy to crack? Anyone looking on mininova.org will find tons of key generators and license codes for all their favorite proprietary applications.

I imagine a system where every disk had a serial number encrypted on it, and every computer had some unique ID number, and when you install the program on your pc, it registers what disk was used for your computer, and what computer it was installed on, so if you shared the disk, it'd check the manufacturers server to see if that disk has already been installed. If it had been, it'd tell you it's already been installed on another computer, and have some steps they could take of they wanted to run it. for instance, if you have a desktop and a laptop, and you need the program on both computers. I know some EULA's allow this, as long as only one seat was running at a time.

But what do I know...

BM

doas777
September 17th, 2009, 05:53 PM
they don't, and nothing about cracking is easy.
the problem is disallowing unauthroized access while allowing legimite access. it is within that ambiguity that the app cracker lives.

companies can;t bring out the big guns as Sony learned from the BMG rootkit debacle of '05. the only way they can protect their rights on their assets is to remove my rights on my assets, so that is not an acceptable end, regardless of means.

I rebuild my PCs regularly and upgrade components all the time, so you can't rely on the hardware as your clue. also it is 100% legal to use a legitimate license to access someone elses install media, so marking disks does little good either.

Bodsda
September 17th, 2009, 05:56 PM
First off- I do not in any way condone piracy! We may have our opinions regarding how software should be distributed, free and open source, for the good of mankind, or proprietary, closed source, for the good of the investors, but we live in a society with laws, and to maintain order we all need to follow those laws whether we agree with them or not!

So- I just have to ask, in this world of super encryptions and everyone having internet access, and piracy running rampant, why do software companies make their software in a way that's so easy to crack? Anyone looking on mininova.org will find tons of key generators and license codes for all their favorite proprietary applications.

I imagine a system where every disk had a serial number encrypted on it, and every computer had some unique ID number, and when you install the program on your pc, it registers what disk was used for your computer, and what computer it was installed on, so if you shared the disk, it'd check the manufacturers server to see if that disk has already been installed. If it had been, it'd tell you it's already been installed on another computer, and have some steps they could take of they wanted to run it. for instance, if you have a desktop and a laptop, and you need the program on both computers. I know some EULA's allow this, as long as only one seat was running at a time.

But what do I know...

BM

Every PC does have a unique ID number, it is your MAC address, the physical address of your network card; no two network cards can have the same number.

In order for the idea of a database to work, it first assumes that every PC in the world be connected to the Internet 24/7, which just is not practical or safe. Second it assumes that everyone wants to hand someone the physical address of their PC, which not everyone does.

If companies are so worried about piracy and 'crack makers' then they should be researching ways to make this so difficult that it is not even worth attempting. but to be honest no company is that bothered about a few pirates that there going to spend billions of pounds developing crack proof software.

Marlonsm
September 17th, 2009, 06:01 PM
Piracy will always exist, doesn't matter how hard manufacturers try to stop it.
But if they try too hard their software will become bloated and not practical (take a look at some games from EA, or at Windows' WGA, or at the way Apple seels products only able to sync with iTunes)
So they just put enough anti-piracy so that the averarge user can't redistribute it to his family and friends.

Gorgoth
September 17th, 2009, 06:22 PM
If companies are so worried about piracy and 'crack makers' then they should be researching ways to make this so difficult that it is not even worth attempting. but to be honest no company is that bothered about a few pirates that there going to spend billions of pounds developing crack proof software.


The trick is to not only make it too difficult to bother with cracking, but also priced so that consumers would just rather buy it anyways.

Barrucadu
September 17th, 2009, 06:58 PM
Every PC does have a unique ID number, it is your MAC address, the physical address of your network card; no two network cards can have the same number.

The MAC address can be changed in, I think, four `ifconfig` commands. So that's not a good thing to use either.

Jackelope
September 17th, 2009, 07:07 PM
The trick is to not only make it too difficult to bother with cracking, but also priced so that consumers would just rather buy it anyways.

And with most games being pretty lame and too short, 60 bucks a pop is enough motive to steal (not that i do....i buy from Steam).

But speaking of crime and piracy...check this out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUCyvw4w_yk

Yes, they actually made a second "don't copy that floppy." video. I guess they've resorted to guilt tripping and threats of jail time. :) its so horrible.

Johnsie
September 17th, 2009, 07:18 PM
Alot of companies do it so that they ca be the dominant package in their genre... They make money from the people who pay and can afford to give a few copies away in order to keep that dominance.

doas777
September 17th, 2009, 07:22 PM
heck, the longstanding rumor has been that MS unofficially supports piracy in certian countries (read: China) because it may turn into a profitable market eventually. if cracking windows had been impossible, the folks there would have turned to linux years ago, and most likely would never look back, even if their economy grows to the point that most citizens have the discretionary income to spend on operating systems. thus they are giving it away free now, so that they have everyone locked in while they can. then charge them.

Exodist
September 17th, 2009, 07:33 PM
Software craking and software locking will always be around.
Its the same as the companies making radar guns for police then another (or even the same company many times) making radar detectors. ](*,)

chriskin
September 17th, 2009, 07:36 PM
But speaking of crime and piracy...check this out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUCyvw4w_yk

if it was a rock or metal song i would listen to it :)

by the way, piracy is mostly stupidity , not a crime.since most people who download pirated software are not professionals, i bet that their need can easily be covered by free software.

for example, every one out there downloads photoshop to make some minor changes to their pics, as if gimp can't do the job as well

Viva
September 17th, 2009, 07:38 PM
Unlike the music industry, large software companies benefit from copyright infringement. They'd prefer if you use a pirated version of their software than a competitor's software. They don't have an immediate benefit in either case anyway, but the former tactic helps mantain their market share.

Tibuda
September 17th, 2009, 07:39 PM
Bill Gates said once that piracy is good for Microsoft... (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article2098235.ece)

Dragonbite
September 17th, 2009, 08:18 PM
Every PC does have a unique ID number, it is your MAC address, the physical address of your network card; no two network cards can have the same number.


The MAC address can be changed in, I think, four `ifconfig` commands. So that's not a good thing to use either.

Yes, it is easy to spoof your MAC address.

doas777
September 17th, 2009, 08:23 PM
yep, macchanger changes my mac at each boot.

as for device ID strings, you get into the same problem that XP activation for OEMs has. if you change your nic, or your mobo, or make any other 3 hardware changes, and you have to buy a new license. no box I have will go 3 years without 3 major hardware changes.

MasterNetra
September 17th, 2009, 09:22 PM
lol Maxis tried DRM with Spore, it still got cracked and apparently with how they set it up, some people who purchased legitimately couldn't play cause their serial was taken by a pirated version. For as long as software needs to be paid for, there will be pirates/hackers to make it free.

starcannon
September 17th, 2009, 09:26 PM
The old saying is, "Locks keep honest people honest"; and it's true. If someone wants to break a security/protection scheme, given enough tenacity they will. So you build a good lock, knowing it will keep the bulk of the people honest, and you move on.

doas777
September 17th, 2009, 09:44 PM
lol Maxis tried DRM with Spore, it still got cracked and apparently with how they set it up, some people who purchased legitimately couldn't play cause their serial was taken by a pirated version. For as long as software needs to be paid for, there will be pirates/hackers to make it free.

that is not true. the cracks removed the online componenets and used no key.
the problem with spore was that legit users were coming up as false positives because the DRM was too aggressive. the other big problem was that securrom 7 caused decoding errors that were not present in the cracked exes so the pirated versions of the game were less buggy and just plain worked better.

The Real Dave
September 19th, 2009, 03:24 PM
As long as there is software that has to be paid for, or activated, there will be people cracking it. Its the same with hacking. Alot of people hack for the fun, the challenge. Just to prove to themselves that they can. With commercial software, people don't want to have to pay for it. You want the new Windows OS, you don't want a free alternative, but your not willing to pay for it either.

Warpnow
September 19th, 2009, 04:04 PM
The economics of software is very interesting, being the opposite of other products. As quantity demanded increases, price increases. This is the exact opposite of the demand model economists have used for centuries.

In this model, there is a point where piracy can increase quantity demanded, and thus price, to a point where its profitable for the company to have their software pirated.

For instance, if a company sells 500 copies of a program at $10 a piece. They are netting $5000 in sales. If 10,000 copies of that program are pirated overnight, the software's Qd increased so dramatically their price equilibrium could now be somewhere around $20. They might lose 100 of their original sales to the ease of piracy, but even assuming the increase in Qd does not lead to an increase in sales, there is a room for increased profit as 400 times 20 is $8,000, which is more than $5,000.

Of course, its a theoretical model, but a good number of people believe if XP could not be pirated it would have increased adoption levels of linux and OSX, decreased Qd, and lead to Microsoft losses.

I believe there is some truth to above model, though often exaggerated.

Dr. C
September 19th, 2009, 05:49 PM
The economics of software is very interesting, being the opposite of other products. As quantity demanded increases, price increases. This is the exact opposite of the demand model economists have used for centuries.

In this model, there is a point where piracy can increase quantity demanded, and thus price, to a point where its profitable for the company to have their software pirated.

For instance, if a company sells 500 copies of a program at $10 a piece. They are netting $5000 in sales. If 10,000 copies of that program are pirated overnight, the software's Qd increased so dramatically their price equilibrium could now be somewhere around $20. They might lose 100 of their original sales to the ease of piracy, but even assuming the increase in Qd does not lead to an increase in sales, there is a room for increased profit as 400 times 20 is $8,000, which is more than $5,000.

Of course, its a theoretical model, but a good number of people believe if XP could not be pirated it would have increased adoption levels of linux and OSX, decreased Qd, and lead to Microsoft losses.

I believe there is some truth to above model, though often exaggerated.

This is so true. In desktop operating systems pirated Windows is approximately 30% of overall market share, while GNU / Linux is in the 1-2% range. If say 50% of the Windows pirates were to get legitimate by switching to GNU / Linux, GNU / Linux would be in the 16% - 18% range, in market share and that would lead to strong third party vendor support for GNU / Linux. The biggest obstacle to switching Windows users to GNU / linux is now gone. The big danger for Microsoft is that this will create a snowball effect and drive a significant portion of licensed Windows users also to GNU / Linux. One can see why software piracy is actually necessary in order for Microsoft to keep its monopoly over desktop operating systems.

By the way I doubt that many Windows pirates would shift to Mac OS X since the cost of a Mac OS license is far higher than a Windows license. In order to license Mac OS X one also has to buy a new computer.

stwschool
September 19th, 2009, 05:55 PM
Every PC does have a unique ID number, it is your MAC address, the physical address of your network card; no two network cards can have the same number.

In order for the idea of a database to work, it first assumes that every PC in the world be connected to the Internet 24/7, which just is not practical or safe. Second it assumes that everyone wants to hand someone the physical address of their PC, which not everyone does.

If companies are so worried about piracy and 'crack makers' then they should be researching ways to make this so difficult that it is not even worth attempting. but to be honest no company is that bothered about a few pirates that there going to spend billions of pounds developing crack proof software.
Might I direct you to macchanger-gtk? Further more, even if mac was unchangeable, a quick swap of network card soon sorts that.

Frak
September 19th, 2009, 06:06 PM
It's a double-edged sword. In one hand, software is incredibly hard to harden from crackers, but on the other hand, piracy can inflate your usage numbers. Look at Adobe for example, their uber-expensive master suite can be fooled with a null response from the activation servers. Some people may want their software to be pirated, based on the chance that they wouldn't pay for it in the first place, and rampant piracy could possibly make your product the de-facto standard in a certain area.

MikeTheC
September 19th, 2009, 06:32 PM
Speaking of Adobe's software products...

The cost differential between what Adobe and Quark each charge for their products in the U.S.A. and in the U.K. is so substantial that one barely needs to buy more than a couple copies to be able to justify a round-trip ticket to the U.S. to buy it there instead.

I am not anti-capitalist, and I'm not anti-corporation, but what I *am* "am" is anti-abuse.

Give you an example, and for reasons which I think will quickly become apparent, I will not mention any names or give identifiable specifics.

A certain individual I know who lives somewhere within the U.K. a couple years ago needed to update both the Adobe and Quark software on the systems at their place of employment. Even the most minimal of research on that person's part quickly discovered a huge differential in cost. So this person had their boss come over to the U.S., buy the requisite number of copies, and fly back.

Hop + Round Trip Ticket + 2 Night Hotel Stay (in a major city, btw) + 5 copies of the one, 4 full copies and 1 upgrade copy of the other + hop back to their location = $5000 less than buying it in the U.K.

Five grand difference is absolutely ludicrous. Why would any reasonable person want to over-pay by that kind of money?

Now, regarding the economic inversion model that was mentioned up-thread, I think what we're basically talking about here is something somewhere between a monopoly and an oligopoly. I am no economics expert, and I am not going to try to pretend to be one, but surely that must have an impact on these kinds of situations and the whole piracy-ramps-up-demand-thereby-ramping-up-cost scenario.

marchwarden
September 19th, 2009, 06:39 PM
The economics of software is very interesting, being the opposite of other products. As quantity demanded increases, price increases. This is the exact opposite of the demand model economists have used for centuries.

I do not agree, the traditional theory of consumer demand still holds true in these markets. Price is not set by demand alone, it is the intersection of the demand and supply curves. Software markets tend to be monopolistic or oligopolistic with little price competition. It is the heightened ability of the suppliers to influence price, compared to competitive markets, that is the driving force behind the price inelasticity

Warpnow
September 20th, 2009, 04:52 AM
I do not agree, the traditional theory of consumer demand still holds true in these markets. Price is not set by demand alone, it is the intersection of the demand and supply curves. Software markets tend to be monopolistic or oligopolistic with little price competition. It is the heightened ability of the suppliers to influence price, compared to competitive markets, that is the driving force behind the price inelasticity

The price equilibrium, ie, the most profitable point, is the intersection of the two. Price is determined solely by the firm, thouugh some would argue market forces are undeniable, the vast majority of companies do not charge the perfect equilibrium, and in realistic economic situations, outside of models, it is impossible to tell the equilibrium without expirimenting with different prices and measuring fluctuations.

While whst you say is true, I do not personally believe it accounts for all software. Linux distributions even tend to have an inverted demand curve, due to the ease of support and such. The more popular linux distributions server wise tend to be more expensive (red hat). Things have a natural to become "standard" in the computer world based on usage. As more people use A, B or C, they gain a reputation, and become standardized. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Firefox. They become so cemented in standardization, that other programs are considered inferior even if their technology is superior. They work best, because they work most. This trend is undeniable. More plugins, brushes, and people design other things so that they work with them.

As linux users we are no stranger to being pushed aside because few use it, even when the technology is superior. We don't get proper Flash, decent hardware support, and virtually no support for some devices (webcams, hardware adapters). This decreases the demand for linux, whereas if we grew it Quantity demanded, the value of it (even if not registered in price) would increase because these things would become more common place.

I don't know much about the inverse demand model, as I haven't taken that class yet, so I won't claim to be an expert (next semester hopefully), but I think I understand the basics.

marchwarden
September 21st, 2009, 05:13 PM
I do not agree, the traditional theory of consumer demand still holds true in these markets. Price is not set by demand alone, it is the intersection of the demand and supply curves. Software markets tend to be monopolistic or oligopolistic with little price competition. It is the heightened ability of the suppliers to influence price, compared to competitive markets, that is the driving force behind the price inelasticity

In retrospect, this doesn't make much sense to me. Serves me right for posting after 4 hours sleep....


The price equilibrium, ie, the most profitable point, is the intersection of the two. Price is determined solely by the firm, thouugh some would argue market forces are undeniable, the vast majority of companies do not charge the perfect equilibrium, and in realistic economic situations, outside of models, it is impossible to tell the equilibrium without expirimenting with different prices and measuring fluctuations.

While whst you say is true, I do not personally believe it accounts for all software. Linux distributions even tend to have an inverted demand curve, due to the ease of support and such. The more popular linux distributions server wise tend to be more expensive (red hat). Things have a natural to become "standard" in the computer world based on usage. As more people use A, B or C, they gain a reputation, and become standardized. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Firefox. They become so cemented in standardization, that other programs are considered inferior even if their technology is superior. They work best, because they work most. This trend is undeniable. More plugins, brushes, and people design other things so that they work with them.

I wholeheartedly agree with you, standardisation by a monopoly or oligopoly firm will drive prices up in the long term.

However, I'm not sure where you are going with this argument about the inverse demand curve? As far as I know the inverse model is about flipping the axes, with price determining quantity rather than quantity determining price. I seem to get the impression that by inverse demand you mean a positive sloping demand curve (i.e. a Giffen Good), but as far as I know such a thing doesn't exist, it's a theory. In my opinion, the effect of standardisation will both move the demand curve up and reduce the slope, but it will not reduce the slope to the extent that it becomes positive.