XferPro 2.00 32 bits for Windos 95
by Aesculapius, April 1997
Courtesy of Fravia's page of reverse engineering
XferPro 2.00 32 bits for Windos 95
Hi all! In this essay, I'll teach you how to crack a serial number
based protection scheme using the 'dead listing' approach. Is this possible?
Yes it is, but what does this means?, what is this serial number thing?
Right, don't be impatient; take three deep breathes, no more than that or
you'll be dizzy. Are you done? Ok, let's proceed...
The engine of this scheme is a mathematical sequence which will take
a serial number typed by the user and validate it according to certain
characteristics this number must have, i.e., it must have no more than 23
digits and not less than 19, the first two digits must be letters and the
following two must be a three digits number greater than 285, etc, etc. Other
approach to this scheme is to make some mathematical modifications to the
users name and get a valid serial number from this mathematically modified
name, in this manner, every user has a unique serial number. This last
approach has a weak point, the software itself must contain the mathematical
sequence to calculate the valid number. When you type your name and a false
serial number, the program calculates the valid number for your name and
compares it with the number you typed. If both numbers are equal then you
are a valid user and the application runs in its registered form. If both
numbers are different then you'll receive a polite advice, warning that
the serial you typed is not correct. Many crackers use this situation on
their behalf by using a cracking technique called 'hear the echo'
(Read +ORC tutorial).
Which one of these two approaches is used by XferPro, probably the first one.
The programs that calculate the valid serial number according to the users
name will include in the registration instructions, phrases like this one:
'Type your name exactly as you want it to appear in your registration
(CASE is important)'. You cannot find any sentence like this one in the
documentation of xferpro, so we will deduce that the serial number must
have certain characteristics but it's not derived from the user name.
You must reach the 'perfecto entendimiento' of the 'dead listing' approach
before trying this crack, so read carefully lesson 9.3 of +ORC tutorial and
then continue. I also highly recommend the excellent +ORC students essays.
Cracking this scheme may be accomplished by two different approaches.
Either calculating a valid password (burn some brain cells analyzing the
code), very boring, or changing the course of the river after the decision
has been taken. This knowledge is essential to crack many programs nowadays,
because recent applications based in this scheme activate unregistered
nag-screens and deactivate some other useful and desirable functions,
forcing you to crack too many locations of the code. Remember, as I always
say: 'A good cracker is like a good surgeon, very subtile changes and great
results'. Overusing your Hex editor all the time denotes that you don't
understand the heart of the protection scheme. What I pretend you to learn
today is to recognize the weakest place of this program and change it in
You can find XferPro 2.00 at http://www.sabasoft.com/
Ok, enough nonsense, let's take some heat!
Our first logical approach it's to start w32dasm7 and disassemble
the file xferp32.exe, load the disassembled text file in your favorite word
processor, then, you have to use your Zen analyzes capabilities. What do I
look for? To answer this question, you'll have to run Xferpro, it'll present
you a NAG screen, now press the REGISTRATION button, type your name and
any false serial number and hit the REGISTER button. You'll receive the
following message: 'Your Registration Data is Incorrect'. Well, lets search
for this phrase, press the search button in your word processor and look
for the following pattern: Your Registration Data is Incorrect. You'll land
in the following segment of the code:
* Reference To: USER32.GetDlgItemTextA, Ord:0000h
Look at this, I could also find this location by
using the Imported functions button at w32dasm7
looking for 'GetDlgItemTextA'!!!
:00416DA8 E827D70000 Call 004244D4 ;
:00416DAD E8AE000000 call 00416E60 ; The protection scheme?
:00416DB2 85C0 test eax, eax ; EAX=1 Unregistered
; EAX=0 Registered
:00416DB4 7412 je 00416DC8 ; The Bingo Jump to the
clearance at :00416DC8 avoiding
the wrong serial number warning
If you change the instruction at :00416DB4 from je 00416DC8 to jne 00416DC8
then the registration box will accept any serial number as valid. This
means that the protection scheme analysis is stored in EAX. If EAX=1 then,
the serial number is false and, if EAX=0 the serial number is valid.
* Possible StringData Ref from Data Obj ->"Your Registration Data is Incorrect!"
:00416DB6 683C1C4300 push 00431C3C ; We need to jump over
:00416DBB 6A30 push 00000030
:00416DBD 56 push esi
:00416DBE E8A51B0000 call 00418968
:00416DC3 83C40C add esp, 0000000C
:00416DC6 EB47 jmp 00416E0F
* Referenced by a (U)nconditional or (C)onditional Jump at Address:
:00416DC8 6801000080 push 80000001 ; This segment will be
executed if your serial serial number is
number is valid
* Possible Indirect StringData Ref from Data Obj ->"username"
:00416DCD 689C0A4300 push 00430A9C
:00416DD2 56 push esi
:00416DD3 E8C0B30000 call 00422198
* Possible StringData Ref from Data Obj ->"You Have Been Successfully Registered."
Analyzing this segment of code, we can quickly deduce that the protection
scheme lies under the CALL at :00416DAD. It could be in the CALL at offset
:00416DA8 but I doubt it. The CPU has very few registers available to
execute a large segment of code without using all of them. Now we're
following our feelings, lets hit the search button of your word processor
and search the offset of the call at :00416DAD. Search the following
pattern: 00416E60. We land right in the middle of the protection scheme:
* Referenced by a CALL at Addresses:
|:00416DAD , :0041A156 , :0042367A , :00423811
^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^
Executed 1 Time Two times Three times Four times
Wow, the protection scheme is CALLed from four different locations of
the code! This means that you're forced to crack the code at this level
and not after the protection scheme has been executed because this would
implicate corrections in four different areas.
:00416E60 53 push ebx ; push registers
:00416E61 56 push esi
:00416E62 57 push edi
:00416E63 55 push ebp
:00416E64 81C4FCFEFFFF add esp, FFFFFEFC
:00416E6A 33F6 xor esi, esi ; clear esi.
:00416E6C 8BC4 mov eax, esp
:00416E6E BB780A4300 mov ebx, 00430A78 ; moves memory location tion offset 430A78
to ebx. Is this the
location of the
serial number we
:00416E73 33FF xor edi, edi ; erase EDI
:00416E75 EB66 jmp 00416EDD
:00416E77 803B2D cmp byte ptr [ebx], 2D ; Compares one
byte of [ebx]
the character dash
:00416E7A 7544 jne 00416EC0 ; if byte not to equal '-'
:00416E7C C60000 mov byte ptr [eax], 00
:00416E7F 8BC6 mov eax, esi
:00416E81 83E801 sub eax, 00000001
:00416E84 7207 jb 00416E8D
:00416E86 7416 je 00416E9E ; if byte equal to '-' jump
:00416E88 48 dec eax
:00416E89 7426 je 00416EB1
:00416E8B EB24 jmp 00416EB1
:00416E8D 54 push esp
:00416E8E E85DC8FFFF call 004136F0
:00416E93 59 pop ecx
:00416E94 8BE8 mov ebp, eax
:00416E96 81E5FF030000 and ebp, 000003FF
:00416E9C EB1D jmp 00416EBB
:00416E9E 54 push esp ; lands from 00416E86
:00416E9F E84CC8FFFF call 004136F0
:00416EA4 59 pop ecx
:00416EA5 C1E00A shl eax, 0A
:00416EA8 2500FC1F00 and eax, 001FFC00
:00416EAD 0BE8 or ebp, eax
:00416EAF EB0A jmp 00416EBB ; jumps 00416EBB
:00416EB1 B801000000 mov eax, 00000001
:00416EB6 E9D9000000 jmp 00416F94
:00416EBB 46 inc esi ; If any byte of the number at
[ebx] equal to character dash
'-' then ESI is increased by
:00416EBC 8BC4 mov eax, esp
:00416EBE EB1B jmp 00416EDB
:00416EC0 8A13 mov dl, [ebx] ; moves one byte of ebx
:00416EC2 0FBECA movsx byte ptr ecx, edx
:00416EC5 F681D17F430002 test byte ptr [ecx+00437FD1], 02
:00416ECC 750A jne 00416ED8
:00416ECE B801000000 mov eax, 00000001
:00416ED3 E9BC000000 jmp 00416F94
:00416ED8 8810 mov [eax], dl
:00416EDA 40 inc eax
:00416EDB 43 inc ebx ; increase the offset pointer
in ebx. So our serial number
is analyzed one byte at a
:00416EDC 47 inc edi
:00416EDD 83FF20 cmp edi, 00000020
:00416EE0 7D05 jge 00416EE7
:00416EE2 803B00 cmp byte ptr [ebx], 00 ; Compares one
byte in [ebx]
with 00. If
the number has
:00416EE5 7590 jne 00416E77
:00416EE7 C60000 mov byte ptr [eax], 00
:00416EEA 54 push esp
:00416EEB E800C8FFFF call 004136F0 ; What's inside this
:00416EF0 59 pop ecx
:00416EF1 C1E015 shl eax, 15
:00416EF4 250000E0FF and eax, FFE00000
:00416EF9 0BE8 or ebp, eax
:00416EFB 83FE02 cmp esi, 00000002 ; Does our serial
number has two
:00416EFE 740A je 00416F0A ; No, then EAX=1 and
jump to 0:0416F94
because the number
Yes, the number has two dashes and
Therefore jump to
The next step at
:00416F00 B800000000 mov eax, 00000001 ; Set EAX=1 Unreg!
:00416F05 E98A000000 jmp 00416F94 ; Exit from the protection
scheme call with unre-
gistered flag set in
*** Some lines eliminated to save some space ***
:00416F94 81C404010000 add esp, 00000104 ;lands from :00416F05
:00416F9A 5D pop ebp ; pop registers...
:00416F9B 5F pop edi
:00416F9C 5E pop esi
:00416F9D 5B pop ebx
:00416F9E C3 ret ; returns with EAX
value set to 00 Reg.
or 01 Unreg.
This segment compares the serial number I typed, looking for the presence
of dashes. The real serial number must have two dashes or else will be
considered a fake. So ESI will be equally to two when we finish this segment
if your serial number has two dashes. If our serial number has more, less or
no dashes at all then the code moves the value 01 to EAX and returns to the
CALLer. We've seen enough. Lets's crack...
If you change the instruction at :00416F00 from:
:00416F00 mov eax, 00000001 ; to
:00416F00 mov eax, 00000000 ; then the protection scheme will accept
any serial number as valid except if
it have two dashes in it.
So, load your favorite Hex Editor, and search the following pattern:
B801000000E98A000000 ; and change it to
B800000000E98A000000 ; That's it...
The protection scheme, will analyze the serial number you typed, if it
doesn't contains two dashes, it'll direct the execution to the instruction
:00416F00 trying to move the value 01 to EAX, off course, our patching,
will store 00 in EAX instead, and the program will interpret that the serial
number is valid.
This is too easy, lets analyze deeper. +ORC taught us that
there is always a better way. Well, what do you think about this
If you look the code in the protection scheme once again, you'll
note that there are several occurrences of the following instruction
:00416F00 mov eax, 00000001
:00416F05 jmp 00416F94
at :00416EB1, :00416ECE, :00416F00 and so on... What is the meaning
of this? Very easy, this protection scheme uses a stepwise approach. It'll
run the first step to check if the serial number you typed fulfill certain
characteristics, if it does, then it'll go to the next step to check for
further characteristics, if it does not, then the program MOVes EAX,00000001
(EAX=1 means false serial number and therefore program is unregistered) and
returns to the CALLer. In other words, it doesn't matters what the program
is doing, what really matters is, that the protection scheme must return with
EAX=00. Considering this, look the code again, beginning at :00416E60. As
you can see, there is a jump at :00416E75. If we change this jump to direct
the execution to the instruction :00416EB1 and change this instruction
(:00416EB1) from MOV EAX,00000001 to MOV EAX,00000000, then our program will
be cracked, because the execution after pushing register, moves 00 to EAX
(Registered) in :00416EB1 and then jumps to :00416F94 where it pop registers
and return to the CALLer.
This approach has several advantages over the first one we analyzed.
1. You don't have to put a false serial number in the registration
box in the first time. This patch will immediately eliminate de NAG screen.
2. The user can type any serial number or even no number at all, there is
no restriction about the number of dashes or any other character in the
serial number. 3. Cracking just the NAG screen is not a bad idea but
unfortunately the program will continue to warn its unregistered status when
you open the help/about box. This is because the protection scheme is
checked at list four times as we already mentioned.
I hope this brief essay will help you to better understand the
capabilities of the 'dead listing' approach when it is in good
In a future essay I'll show you how to turn a serial number
protection scheme into a key generator itself.
Take care, bye bye...
Aesculapius 1997. All rights reversed.
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