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Nicolas Bischoff

Releasing cracks for your own app/game

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Anybody ever done this? Here is a little idea I came up with. By releasing your own cracks / invalid keygen''s etc. you can get away with messing witht he end users pc. Its unethical to put ''bad code'' into your program that would corrupt the registry etc, but what happens if the crack they try and apply does this. A bad reg code could also cripple your app etc. By flooding the crack sites with this you will be able to take attention away from your app from would be crackers. If there are already 5 cracks for one app, why would they do it themselves? As I said, the crack/app could work for a while but would then cease function, maybe popup a dialog saying that they have been detected and they should pay their fee or they will be reported etc. /just an idea

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You''d get sued for writing trojans/virii. It doesn''t matter that the intent of the user is illegal if YOUR intent is illegal as well.

(it isn''t stopping the RIAA from trying to pass legislation to exactly this effect though).

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It''d be kind of funny if someone installed a "crack", which appeared to work for a few days, then displayed a yes/no dialog: "You have used an illegal crack. Do you wish to report yourself?"

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quote:
Original post by MadKeithV
You''d get sued for writing trojans/virii. It doesn''t matter that the intent of the user is illegal if YOUR intent is illegal as well.


Not at all. This wouldn''t be a virus or a trojan. It wouldnt touch anything on the machine outside of the program, and it wouldnt propogate itself in any way. Basically, if the user tries to do something illegal, the crack will "attempt" to help them but fail. Nothing more. Besides, even if it was illegal, who would step up to the plate to challenge you? It would be like trying to tell a police officer "I know this guy was going at least 30 over the speed limit, because I was going 20 over and he flew by me".

That said, I dont know if I would bother. I would imagine that all you would be doing is making a cracker''s job easier because (in order for you your fake crack to make it appear to work at first) it would have to bypass some of the copy protection mechanisms. If the cracker than disassembles a very small crack program (instead of the very large application) then it is much easier to figure out where in applicaiton the protection mechanisms are. Think of your fake-crack as a big neon sign.


Ron Frazier
Kronos Software
www.kronos-software.com
Miko & Molly - Coming July 2002

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Yup, I agree that deliberately putting Trojans out etc is extremely irresponsible - and there is of course the risk that someone innocent would get hurt if it spread. However...

...The idea of assuming a "warez dude" persona and uploading what looks like cracked versions, particularly if you release **before** the warez scene cracks appear is a good one.

A lot of what drives the cracking part of the warez scene is the kudos of being the first to release a crack. Any subsequent cracks are valued a lot less in that scene.

So if you release what appears to be the *first* crack, particularly with say a deliberate 3 week timeout, all the boards, newsgroups, sites are likely to carry that version. And you''re likely to greatly reduce motivation for them to crack that product (until they realise it isn''t "properly cracked").

It''s something I''m increasingly thinking about (many moons ago I was in the intro making division of an Amiga cracking group) - there''s lots of possibilities which aren''t illegal but could hurt some parts of the warez scene ("divide and conquer", "destroy from within", "keep your friends close, your enemies closer" etc )

Rumour has it that even MS are trying something like this with Windows XP. The rumour goes that Service Pack 1 will disable all of the known keygen/cracked versions when applied. To me this seems like a good strategy - give people a years free play demo, if they''re still using it after a year, they can go and buy the full thing. No valid excuses.

Also Microsoft Research have been up to some similar stuff, including having their own "warez dude" who''s active in the scene as a spy:

http://research.microsoft.com/crypto/piracy.asp
http://research.microsoft.com/crypto/openbox.asp



--
Simon O''Connor
Creative Asylum Ltd
www.creative-asylum.com

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quote:
Original post by LordKronos
Not at all. This wouldn''t be a virus or a trojan. It wouldnt touch anything on the machine outside of the program, and it wouldnt propogate itself in any way.


Modifying the program is illegal, even if you originally wrote that too. It would be like Ford walking into your garage and taking the wheels off your Ford Cougar, saying "we built it, so it''s ours."

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quote:
Original post by MadKeithV It would be like Ford walking into your garage and taking the wheels off your Ford Cougar, saying "we built it, so it''s ours."

Yeah, but you bought the Ford Cougar. They didn''t buy your program.

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quote:
Original post by SuperRoy
Yeah, but you bought the Ford Cougar. They didn''t buy your program.



I might have stolen it, and that still wouldn''t give them the right to enter my garage. Two wrongs don''t make a right.

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What if you put a special clause in the EULA (or whatever) like:

"You give us the right to modify the program in any way, without notice."

Note that when you buy a car its yours, but sometimes you dont own the program, only a licence to it.

--redwyre

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But by publically releasing a "crack" for your own game, **YOU** as the author of the crack and the game aren't modifying the code of the game. The person who *USED* the crack is!...

Putting a "use at your own risk" disclaimer on the crack should be enough IMO to remove any liability. The point of the crack would be to ONLY disable the illegal copy of the game rather than affect anything else on the users machine.

I doubt anyone who made a copy of a game and then used a crack which they thought would violate the owners copyright which happened to turn the game into a demo version would sue. And even if they did, I suspect they'd be laughed out of court!. Using another analogy: If you buy some drugs off a drug dealer and you discover they're fake, you aren't (in most countries) going to go to the police and issue a complaint because you yourself were intending on breaking the law!

Even using a car analogy - it's similar to websites which offer details/downloads for flashing/chipping engine management units on cars to remove maximum speed limitations etc. If you do it, you might get a faster car. Alternatively you might end up with a dead car - it's a risk you take. Nobody broke into your garage! Nobody forced you to do it! You took the risk and performed the actions in your own garage.

--
Simon O'Connor
Creative Asylum Ltd
www.creative-asylum.com

[edited by - S1CA on July 26, 2002 9:57:42 AM]

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