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Thread: My application cracked - now what?

  1. #1
    JohnnyMcRonny
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    My application cracked - now what?

    Hello,

    I am the owner of a very small (just me!) software development company. One of my apps has been cracked by someone using the name DEVOTiON and I'd like to know how, if at all, I can reach the cracker to find out more about the weaknesses of the protection. (One version was cracked the very day I put in on the server).

    As it happens, the crack is incomplete, too, and I'd like to share this information with the cracker so that he/she doesn't get labelled as lame when the crack proves to be ineffective!

    Thanks.
    I promise that I have read the FAQ and tried to use the Search to answer my question.

  2. #2
    To crash or not to crash
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    If I where the author of an app and it was cracked incompletely I would keep it to myself. Just my thoughts... There are many things you can do to make cracking harder. Just read a bit through the forum.

  3. #3
    Read the NFO that comes with the crack. It might have the contact information for their group.

    Usually the authors don't tell them their crack is incomplete though. The crackers usually figure that out themselves sooner or later and update their crack.

  4. #4
    Teach, Not Flame Kayaker's Avatar
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    Indeed, sympathy for the reputation of a cracker who cracked your own app? Sure, you might get him/her to point out the weaknesses of your code, but this only means she knows your code better than you do (from a crackers perspective).

    You would do better to analyze the code yourself, again from a crackers perspective, and learn to protect better in the process. You could start by comparing the disassemblies of the cracked and original versions to find out exactly where things were patched (assuming it was a crack produced and not a keygen). This should immediately point out the weakest spots. There are "bindiff" utilities you could use for this but you should be able to do it manually just as effectively.

    To begin with, you should start with the assumption that your app *will* be cracked no matter what you do. It's usually a matter of when not if. Don't be upset by this, but just take it as a given. There is the theory that the longer you can have your app uncracked, as in weeks or months - not years, then you have a chance of reaping some profit from it by attracting registered users.

    Developing a moderately effective protection might take months or years itself, depending on how many of the "tricks" you are already aware of. You could use a commercial protection but you would be better off not relying on that alone, and of course you have to factor in the cost of it as well.

    There are lots and lots of protection strategies, all dependant on your coding abilities, time and desire. There is of course much information on this and other sites on the very subject, though not always laid out in black and white, you will have to dig.

    Good luck,
    Kayaker

  5. #5
    http://fravia.com/protec/protec.htm

    But, as Woodmann said above, it will be cracked anyway.

  6. #6
    <script>alert(0)</script> disavowed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyMcRonny View Post
    One of my apps has been cracked
    Dude, just give up on software products and turn your app into a web service. Then there's nothing to crack

  7. #7
    JohnnyMcRonny, can I suggest a different approach? Your app has been cracked, and you've made it clear to the cracker that further work is needed for the crack to be complete. In other words your current protection now offers zero value.

    In light of that why not write a detailed post here explaining how you coded the protection and how it works. Then we can pick holes in it and show you where the weak point are.

    What LLXX suggests is valid, but if you're like most coders you won't want to spend 6 months getting a reasonable foundation in RCE - and that's the only way you're going to be able to *reliably* assess how your protection looks from a cracker's point of view.

    Be very aware that what I'm suggesting is also effectively a roadmap for others to use to crack your software, so you need to weigh up the choice: disclose all the information now, rendering the current version worthless but giving a fighting chance for the next version, or keep the information private and hope further cracks don't occur (very unlikely).

    disa: web service? pa-fooey!

    kayaker: bet you I can code an app that can't be cracked
    Still here...

  8. #8
    Super Moderator
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    kayaker: bet you I can code an app that can't be cracked
    yep it wont run you cant crack the best protection ever invented

  9. #9
    Well in my opinion if I was he cracker I would not tell you where i the right patch.
    As you said the application is not cracked but that is nothing.(until when?)
    Basically i prefer Silver's idea to write how you coded and to try and find the holes.Interesting project.Will it success?Time will show

  10. #10
    reknihT esreveR SiGiNT's Avatar
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    Well, no one has done what he wanted, ask "what's the name of your app" this is either a thinly veiled crack request, or a fishing expedition for info on Team DEVOTiON, there a several threads already here that discuss what the the opinions of this forum's members are on various protection schemes, Just my cynical opinion!

    SiGiNT
    Unemployed old fart Geek - Self Employed Annoyance
    Team: Noobisco Crackers
    If someone can't do it for you, you'll never learn!

  11. #11
    I second Silver and Wasted_bytes, detailing the protection you implented and finding holes would be interesting for you and for us.
    Please consider donating to help Woodmann.com staying online (here is why).
    Any amount greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  12. #12
    Death and taxes are inevitable.

    I would add "cracks" to that short list.

    Live your life just the same as before.

  13. #13
    dunno, i'd be quite suspicious about you wanting to 'find' the cracker, as you may have other motives.. the fact that the crack isn't complete means that you arent really going to lose a customer base, as those using the warezed copy will have an incomplete crack..and how can you respect a cracker who made an incomplete crack...

    why not analyse his crack, in doing so you will most likely see the weaknesses, and if you really want to have a weakness analysis, then might i suggest you give information / url to your product so some people (along possibly with some real serial codes etc or stuff that might be required to get it operational) here could play with it and might report weaknesses for you (if that is indeed your aim)...

  14. #14
    reknihT esreveR SiGiNT's Avatar
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    My second 2 cents - people pay for software that proves it's worth - there are many examples, take WinZip - for a long time this was one of the easiest apps around to crack, it was often recommended as a target for newbie crackers, the company did not really suffer financially because of this, people always would prefer to have a "legal" copy of an app they use frequently, but if you offer a product with limited usefullness then chances are that cracked versions will put a significant "ding" in your revenue, I find it hard to believe that operating as a one man operation your servers were monitored closely enough to have it cracked on the day the latest version was released - in short a few more details might be usefull, no one here likes to see a hard working developer lose his due.

    SiGiNT
    Unemployed old fart Geek - Self Employed Annoyance
    Team: Noobisco Crackers
    If someone can't do it for you, you'll never learn!

  15. #15
    I find it hard to believe that operating as a one man operation your servers were monitored closely enough to have it cracked on the day the latest version was released
    One possible explanation - he uploaded it to a distro-service like Download.com, and by coincidence the cracker was scanning the "latest submissions" list at the same time. That's how I've picked targets to play with in the past. And, no offence to the OP, but if he homebrew'd the protection then it's probably like many apps on there - 2 or 3 byte patch to crack. It's that knowledge gap he won't be able to fill without serious work.

    Anyway, let's see what he says.
    Still here...

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