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Category Archive for ‘Copy Protection’ rss

Telling a Tale … Where Download-Code Sucks

I’ll be the first to admit that I love what Telltale Games have done to the long ago diseased adventure game genre. I played the Monkey Island Games via Steam, got Wallace & Grommit even though I don’t even possess a PC (unfortunately not available for Mac) and I loved the first episode of “The Walking Dead” on my iPad.

A mere 14 hours ago Telltale released the second episode for iOS but it turns out that their episode downloading code is utter crap. Much to my frustration because I am trying to get this episode for playing for around 10 hours now. It is quarter to 11 pm and I have reached a point where I need to vent my chagrin in a blog post.

If only to tell a tale how NOT to construct code that downloads many hundreds of megabytes.

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State of the Art in Cracking Apps

With the number of apps on the app store soon reaching the big 100.000 it is only logical that piracy continues to flourish. At the beginning of this year a tool named Crackulous promised to make it easy for everyone to become a pirate, claiming to be the solution to a flawed app store. At the time of this writing Crackulous version 0.9 is public and the next version 1.0 is being “in development” for more than half a year.

Piracy is a thorn in the side of all small time iPhone developers who can hope to make around $10 per app per day. Those hard working coders now face the likelyhood of  loosing half of their revenue to pirates making it continuously easier to get the apps for free. According to latest numbers of Pinch app to 60% of apps in use are in fact cracked copies.

There are several things that you can do being such a developer who sees a at least a portion of his potential income being stolen.

  • cease to protect and consider pirated apps as additional advertisements
  • pay hundreds of dollars to a professional protection service
  • do some research and collect together methods to detect cracks and modify your app’s behavior if you find it is cracked
  • join the AntiCrack community to gain access to our repository and put this into your apps, mix and match, use what you like
  • or the fatalistic option is too cease making iPhone apps alltogether

I encourage everyone to do a bit of his own research to understand the techniques that are out there and maybe develop a couple of your own. But for everybody who still wants to try to do at least something we made AntiCrack.

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AntiCrack 2.0

I am extremely pleased to announce a major new release of AntiCrack. While the implementation details have changed very little our new lead developer Fabian Kreiser has rewritten AntiCrack from ground up to obfuscate it to the extreme. Also he researched and developed two additional technologies which should immediately make your mouth water:

  • Denial of Debuggers. This makes it impossible for Crackulous to remove encryption.
  • Checking of binary encryption. The encrypted envelope put on by Apple in the review process is now checked for integrity.

Previously existing AntiCrack 1.x users are getting the update for free, for everybody else the minimum donation has been increased to 30 Euros. I switched from Dollars to Euros because the increasing weakness of the Dollar started to get on my nerves.

1.x versions of AntiCrack did not really prevent cracking of apps but provided a comprehensive and easy to implement toolset allowing users to dynamically adapt their app’s featureset to “Lite” once a crack was detected. The groundbreaking 2.0 release also prevents cracking in the first place. This again makes it on par with the professional Kaliap copy protection service offered by Ripdev.

Personally I believe it’s now even superior because you get full source code for AntiCrack, don’t have to pay recurring charges and you don’t have to register all new apps and app versions with an online service. I’ve updated the AntiCrack product description page if you would like to read more.

Piracy Data Update

In the pro versus contra copy protection debate there are some arguments against the other side’s viewpoint. Arguments that can be proven or disproven if you have some real life data available. Is there a need for piracy detection? Is this a cat and mouse game that single developers can never win?

Pirated versus PurchasedSpeaking for LuckyWheel installation base I have the following statistics available:

2052  (55%) purchased regular LuckyWheel

1661 (45%) pirated the game

3713 total (100%) LuckyWheel installations

66646 downloaded the Lite version

LuckyWheel Lite, limited to ten questions per language, is a great way to try out LuckyWheel for free. One argument I’ve heard a lot is that people will use a cracked copy to evaluate your app and if they like it very much will spend the dollar or two that it usually costs. But is this really the case?

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State of the Art in App Cracking

ARTeam ReportARTeam, a group of hackers who – according to their homepage – specialize in reverse engineering released a 29 page report titled “Patching Applications from Apple AppStore with additional protection” that shows the state of the art on iPhone app cracking.

This report was released in partial secrecy on May 16th on the ARTeam download page. No blog article. No announcement. It was only stumbled upon by a German blogger who on condition on anonymity provided it to me after I asked nicely. The report even has a section about “licensing”.

All code included with this tutorial is free to use and modify; we only ask that you mention where you found it.

Ok, I told you where I got it. Now let’s see what goodies it unearths.

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