Cracking (was Digital archaeology)
jwest at classiccmp.org
Wed Jan 17 15:45:15 CST 2007
> As with most things, the amount of work done to protect an application
> is directly in response to the perceived threat.
Nah, I think it was more along the lines of how good a particular programmer
or group of programmers a software manufacturer happened to have on staff. I
don't think most companies actually spent time analyzing the threat and
keeping their response equally measured. That's why a lot of companies
eventually contracted with other companies who specialized in copy
protection (everlok, etc.).
> I suspect
> that most software is like this -- find the one place where it polls
> the dongle and jump over that code.
Oh no... definitely not. Sure, there was definitely some code that was a
simple no-op. But I wouldn't say that was the majority of applications. Even
very very old applications got much more crafty than that. Those dongle
checks were often spread all over the code, not just one place. Look at some
of the copyprotection schemes used on the C64 "inside the drive" and it's
amazing how complex they were back in that day even. Sierra had stuff that
would make an adventure game take an unsolvable twist much later in the game
if it sensed the copyprotection had been broken. Some games decrypt the code
on the fly as it accesses the disk... so at least in my experience, there
were definitely some "no-op the branch" and you're done, but that was a far
minority of programs.
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