April 20, 2009 -- Intellectual property protection and piracy prevention are not new issues for software vendors, but strategies and opinions vary on how best to combat those threats.
Every successful independent software vendor has been the target of visible piracy activity. In fact, the piracy groups boldly announce their efforts in .NFO files and make the pirated software, or "cracked" releases, available to various distribution channels, such as Secure FTP, P2P, IRC and the Web.
The crackers use a combination of reverse-engineering tools, existing knowledge bases and their machine code expertise to disable licensing mechanisms within software. These same tactics can be used to gain access to sensitive IP contained in software, which is more a threat from emerging competitors or foreign governments than from piracy groups.
Approaches for combating IP theft and piracy include software protection technology and piracy business intelligence. Software protection technology makes software resistant to reverse engineering and tampering. It is not an absolute security measure, but a way of making code difficult to disassemble and modify once compiled. Common protection features include anti-debugging and code encryption.
Anti-debugging techniques aim to prevent debuggers or disassemblers from attaching to running applications. Anti-debug logic looks for specific signatures, hooks and APIs used by debuggers to take control of the application. Although such approaches are commonly used, advances in virtual machines are making them less effective.
By Victor DeMarines.
This brief introduction has been excerpted from the original copyrighted article.
View the entire article on the Electronic Engineering Times (EE Times) website.