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30 day trial

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How would I make a 30 day trial that is not easily hackable, how do big programs make 30 day trial versions?

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in this case, The registry is your friend.
It''s about the only reason I would use it.

You could alwas be sneaky and use the .exe''s creation date..

Armand

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Isn''t it easy to simply change the date or delete the program and all registry info and then reinstall it.

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If you don''t mind the price, you can use the Armadillo protection system.

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What is Armadillo?

Is this what proffesional software uses. Are there ways of getting around it?

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quote:
medovid: Isn''t it easy to simply change the date or delete the program and all registry info and then reinstall it.


Yes and no. First of all, They''d have to find the key and change it to somthing that would work.

you could say: hide the data in something else..
E.g
CCCCCCDDCCMMCCYYCC

the C could be some sort of check digit based on the date, If it''s not right the programs exits.

You could also not delete the regkeys when you uninstall.

Basicly, If they modivated enought, not much is going to stop them from copying your program. The trick is to make it more of a trouble then its worth.

Armand

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Not to get on your care…
But why would you want to have a 30-day trial anyway?

I would be happy if someone used my applications for one day

dynamic sigs are fresh!

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All meshing with registry will be easy catch with regmon.
Try geting date from some system files (and changing its date after each run-if today date is before that in file do...)
All meshing with files will be easly catch with filemon.
But some system files it wont be so easy.

Someone will remove your trial and there is nothing you can do with it.

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Here''s an interesting excerpt about Armadillo from the Shareware Junction newsletter I recently received:

quote:

Making the leap to Armadillo by Mike Stevenson
As a shareware developer, I''ve been finding my programs hacked within days of release for a few years now. I secretly admit that this is a little flattering, but beyond that it''s infuriating. Lets face it: most hackers are pimply faced kids who have never worked a day in their life. They think all software should be free, and can''t see why anyone wouldn''t agree. Well, I don''t agree.

My registration code algorithms have always been rather simple. A last step before release that I never put much effort into - just enough to keep the honest people honest. But increasingly, the dishonest people are corrupting the honest people. I see more and more people - from men to women, kids to grandparents - that think if they can find a code on the internet, they don''t have to pay. And codes are not hard to find, these days. No longer can we worry about keeping the honest people honest. It''s gotten to the point where we need to shut down the dishonest, as well.

For the newest release of my product, I settled on the Armadillo Protection System. Starting at only $89 to protect as many programs as you''d like, I only have to recover five sales to justify the costs. I posted a quick question on the ASP private newsgroup and was told that a program can be protected in a matter of minutes, and can be done well within a matter of days. Wow, were they right!

My initial test of Armadillo was the simplest that could be done. I pointed it towards my main executable, chose a 32-bit encrypted key, typed a few personalized messages, and chose a 30-day trial period, and hit Protect. In less than three minutes, I had a completely protected program with optional nags before and after the program, full key-based protection, and a sophisticated system for making sure that users don''t mess with the system clock to get more time out of your trial. However, my final goal was 100% integration with my existing dialogs, so I set to work.

Armadillo allows you to turn off the default notifications for expired trials and clockback errors. In doing this, Armadillo instead makes certain environment variables available to your program that allow you to determine when these events have happened. Then, with the help of a "virtual dll" (no installation is involved, as there is no physical dll), you make calls to check a key (aka, registration code), install a key, check for an fix clockback/clockforward errors, and a host of other features.

Total time to completion: 3 to 4 hours. Total time without a crack: 33 days - a personal record. I continue to be amazed by Armadillo, and plan to use it to protect things I never though I''d be able to sell, such as the games I write for my kids in Flash. Its ease of use, low cost and relatively small size (only added 200k to my app) makes this a must-have utility for any shareware author. There is a 30-day trial and more informatoin available from Silicon Realms at http://www.siliconrealms.com/.

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quote:
Original post by moore52
Try geting date from some system files (and changing its date after each run-if today date is before that in file do...)


erm, no. stay away from my system files. i don''t want to have a screwed up system because of a 30-day trial program i''ve installed. timestamps on system files are there for a reason, so leave them alone.

and if you encrypt the data before writing it into registry, it won''t be that easy to break.

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I agree with stodge. The only way you''re going to garuntee no one''s going to steal your functionality is to not give it to them in the first place.

I feel I can safely say there is no 100% effective time trial protection, and there never will be. I''ve cracked many of them myself and I would be considered an extreme lamer as far as hacking is concerned.


----
AIDS

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My suggestion (based on personal experience, as well as the results of experiments undertaken by various shareware authors):

Don''t do a 30 day trial, instead, go with an unlimited use "crippleware" version. You can easily protect it by just not including the code that would do the extra functions.

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Doing it with registry would be so easy to crack...

i.e 1:
Save all the registry into a file i.e ("C:\reg_before.reg") then install the
trial version and after installing it save the registry again int a file
i.e ("C:\reg_after.reg"), see what''s the diference between the 2 reg files, and
now you have to do the simple stuff.......

i.e 2:
Create a system recovery point before installing the trial software, install the
software and when the 30 days are over just restore your computer to the recovery point
you''ve created...

So, the best thing to do is not to include some functionality in your released exe,
this way you can be 100% sure no one is going to crack it, unless someone publishes the
full version exe, but that''s another story....


KaMiKaZe

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what alot of people do is change their system time to say... 5 years
in advance, then install the software.
to avoid this, at runtime, check to make sure the install date
is less than the current date (since most people will change their
date back to normal afterwards. if not, it''ll expire in 30 days anyway.)

-eldee
;another space monkey;
[ Forced Evolution Studios ]


::evolve::

Do NOT let Dr. Mario touch your genitals. He is not a real doctor!

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Yup, I personally agree with stodge...don''t put all of the code in in the first place! not to say it''s unbreakable - I''m sure I''ve heard of people hacking apps to include ''extra'' functionality - like save functions. It''s worth checking (note: not settting!) the timestamp on system files like the registry and seeing if they are ahead of the current system time as a check...it''s indicative of a problem sometimes.

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quote:
Original post by Kamikaze15
Doing it with registry would be so easy to crack...


that''s not going to work all that well if you hash the registry data with a hash derived from current date/time, and update the registry data along with the hash each time your program is run to prevent people from setting their clock back.

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I''m curious... Where is the "registry" located? I''ve never seen it, but I''ve never looked either.

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I know that a large amount of registry data is always in RAM, that’s why MS wants you to use it so much… its faster then files that way. I think that it is somewhere in the larger system files. Maybe the largest file in the system directory.

dynamic sigs are fresh!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Turn the clock back in code 2 years, 50 day and 2 min;
write a NAME.dll file with the bin-ascii info you need and place it in nowhere land like program files common.....

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quote:
Original post by TheGuy
I''m curious... Where is the "registry" located? I''ve never seen it, but I''ve never looked either.


On Windows 2000, it''s mostly in C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\config. There''s also bits in your user folder under C:\Documents and Settings (in the ntuser.dat file) - this is the stuff in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive.

Under Windows 9X, who knows, who cares?

Oh and more on-topic, I would never use an off-the-shelf solution like Armadillo. The problem is that, generally, once a cracker can crack one Armadillo-protected app, she can crack all of them.

And as for registry-protection, even if you use the most elaborate scheme for hiding your data, all a cracker has to do is change the "if( ValidRegistry() )" to "if( !ValidRegistry() )" (generally a single opcode) and you''re screwed. Placing more checks in your program simply results in more opcodes to change - no big deal, really.

No, the best thing to do is not include the code you don''t want unregistered users useing.

If I had my way, I''d have all of you shot!


codeka.com - Just click it.

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I found a free program out there called Trial Creator. It allows you to make 30 day trials. You can get it from http://www.softwarekey.com/swk_products/trial_creator/

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