The increasing patronage of pirated software nowadays is a major concern facing software developers and distributors. Though considered illegal and carrying with it corresponding penalties, piracy continues to increase as methods of mass production and registration number generator software are accessible to almost anyone.
For individuals securing pirated software, getting past software developers’ piracy barriers has become easy as pie through the help of software cracking groups who offer free downloads of CD keys, serial numbers or registration numbers on websites dedicated to software piracy. Just what are these keys and numbers and how are they generated?
Software Activation keys
In their efforts to prevent piracy, software developers use a validation procedure using what are referred to as CD keys, serial numbers or registration numbers to successfully activate software. These are made available to purchasers of licensed software. When a person buys or downloads pirated software, he will be required to have a key to activate his copy. But since his software is an illegal copy, he usually does not have a valid one. This is where software cracking groups come in. Through the use of a small program known as a keygen (an abbreviated form of “key generator”), valid CD keys, serial numbers or registration numbers are generated for a piece of software.
How Keygens Work
Keygens operate by means of the principle of reverse engineering. Using a disassembler, the author of the keygen (otherwise referred to as a cracker) targets the raw assembly code of a program by examining the software or the installer. This allows the cracker to locate the code responsible for the checking of valid keys. Using this, the algorithm may be reverse engineered to produce valid keys.
Another method used by keygens is a brute force approach which allows a cracker to use a search technique to test as many combinations as possible against the key validation procedure until he produces a combination for a valid key. These two aforementioned methods of key generation are considered the pure or true keygens.
Sometimes, an impure keygen is produced using a different method, which involves changing the written code of a program in order for a key to work. This method is not typically used as finding another “crack” or weakness in the program is considered “impure.”
Issues With Keygens
The first problem with keygens is with regard to product activation, a procedure for validating software licenses. It involves hashing hardware serial numbers and an ID number assigned to the product’s license, otherwise referred to as a product key. This process generates a unique installation ID, which is then sent to the manufacturer to check the authenticity of the product key and to verify that the product key is not used for multiple installations. The use of keygens may not always work because his key may not be valid. The cracker might have created a key which was only valid to allow the software to be installed, but rendered invalid for any other future use.
Another problem is that keygens do not work for massively multi-player online games (MMOG). An MMOG is a video game which allows multiple players to play simultaneously. Each MMOG program requires a unique producer-generated key that comes included with the product. These keys come in tamper-proof media such as scratch cards or tamper-proof envelopes, and are rendered invalid or useless upon first activation. In the event that more than one instance of the use of a key is detected online, then the game might block the user from logging in.
And, like all other programs, keygens may contain viruses that can harm or destroy your computer. Once you open a downloaded keygen, it may install destructive software instead of, or on top of, providing a valid key.
Patronizing pirated software is seemingly convenient because of its accessibility. However, in the long run, using pirated software proves to be more harmful than beneficial. It offers no security when it comes to acquiring valid keys. Plus, there is always the danger of your system being infected with a virus. Allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy genuinely valid programs and protect yourself from the harmful effects of piracy. Purchase only licensed software, and support the efforts of programmers and developers so they can continue creating useful software.