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Old 10-25-2019, 08:09
TmC TmC is offline
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Comers & Goners in software protection

Hi there,
this post only to have in one page all of the most used software protection developers, just as as a benchmark of who's left and who's gone.

As far as I have been able to see that great deal of software protection application that used to be alive in the 2000-2010 decade have mostly deceased, maybe because of the efforts needed to keep the protection valid and the change in licensing needs with the advent of cloud.

If someone would like to help, then the list could simply be updated.

P.S. The following list includes only wrapping protectors or at least something with a Tool, not DLL or free source code ones (VBOLock, TrialX, Activelock etc...) nor the accademic ones.

|------------|-----------------|-------------------|---------------------|
| Name | Developer | Software Status |Company Status |
|------------|-----------------|-------------------|---------------------|
| ACProtect | Anticrack | Dead | Dead |
| Armadillo | Silicon Realms | Dead | Dead |
| ASProtect | Alexey Solod. | Operative (SKE) | Operative (Starforce)|
| Crypkey | Crypkey | Operative | Operative |
| Enigma | Vladimir Sukhov | Operative | Operative |
| Execryptor | Strongbit | Dead | Dead |
| Interlok | Pace AP | Operative (iLok) | Operative |
| Obsidium | Martin Tofall | Operative | Operative |
| PC Guard | Sofpro | Operative | Operative |
| Protection +| Softwarekey |Operative | Operative |
| Safe Cast | Macrovision | Dead | Operative (Flexera) |
| Sales Agent| Release Soft | Dead | Dead |
| SDProtector | ??? | Dead | Dead |
| Softlocx | Bit-Arts | Dead | Dead |
| Softsentry | Twenty | Dead | Dead |
| SVKP | Pavol Cerven | Dead | Dead |
| Timelok | Preview Systems| Dead | Dead |
| VBox | Preview/Ealadin | Dead | Dead |
| Visual Prot | Visage Soft | Dead | Operative |
| VM Protect | VMPSoft | Operative | Operative |
| XProtector | XProtector | Operative (Tmd/WL)| Operative (Oreans) |

Apart from the companies that have been bought/other financial gimmicks, the first thing I notice is that what survived is mostly using VMs and what failed, failed for various reasons, but didn't have the time to develop one, so it seems that to survive the others using a VM is somehow mandatory.

What do you think? Are there other protectors to add to the list? What do you believe have been the motives of the great development first and subsequent fade out after of most software protections?

Last edited by TmC; 10-25-2019 at 08:18.
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Old 10-25-2019, 13:21
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Not sure if you want to include things that were used to protect games but:

Code:
|------------|------------------------|-------------------|---------------------|
| Name       | Developer              | Software Status   | Company Status      |
|------------|------------------------|-------------------|---------------------|
| SafeDisc   | Macrovision            | Dead              | Operative (TiVo)    |
| SecuROM    | Sony DADC              | Dead              | Operative (Sony)    |
| StarForce  | StarForce Technologies | Operative         | Operative           |
|------------|------------------------|-------------------|---------------------|
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Old 10-28-2019, 05:52
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I was thinking about that...if people like it we can also add that.

For a small ammount of time Bit-Arts too produced a CD protection tool used in Age of Empires III if I recall correctly.
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Old 10-29-2019, 14:55
evlncrn8 evlncrn8 is offline
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safecast was a very very diluted version of safedisk with one exported api in the dll to check to do the checking.. it was trivial to bypass...

securom isnt officially dead either, sony still have it, and denuvo had access to it (unsure if they still do as they then did denuvo x86 which they didnt have before) - but its not dead per se...

same with starforce.. afaik its still going strong in the russian and asian areas.. just not in the euro and american ones
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evlncrn8 View Post
securom isnt officially dead either, sony still have it, and denuvo had access to it (unsure if they still do as they then did denuvo x86 which they didnt have before) - but its not dead per se...

same with starforce.. afaik its still going strong in the russian and asian areas.. just not in the euro and american ones
Did they abandon the driver thing? When Starforce was in Cycling Manager 3, many users complained about the forced driver installation of SF and I thought I read that they were going to stick to RING3 to avoid complaints.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:11
evlncrn8 evlncrn8 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TmC View Post
Did they abandon the driver thing? When Starforce was in Cycling Manager 3, many users complained about the forced driver installation of SF and I thought I read that they were going to stick to RING3 to avoid complaints.
think the driver is optional now and yeh the driver stuff was pretty much the kiss of death for starforce in most of the western countries.. so there could well be regional variation in the protection used on some products
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evlncrn8 View Post
safecast was a very very diluted version of safedisk with one exported api in the dll to check to do the checking.. it was trivial to bypass...

securom isnt officially dead either, sony still have it, and denuvo had access to it (unsure if they still do as they then did denuvo x86 which they didnt have before) - but its not dead per se...

same with starforce.. afaik its still going strong in the russian and asian areas.. just not in the euro and american ones
SecuROM as a company itself is dead. However, Denuvo was formed by a buyout that involved SecuROMs original company DigitalWorks.

StarForce is still going but is very rarely used anymore in the gaming industry, at least with anything that comes to the western world. There has been a release here and there that has included it, last I recall was a game from UbiSoft which quickly ditched it after massive problems with the "protection" and potential rootkit dangers.

Most of their customer base now is Russian companies. Think the biggest in terms of gaming that people would recognize currently is Mail.ru due to them currently acquiring a license to run the new MMOARPG Lost Ark from Korea.
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:31
evlncrn8 evlncrn8 is offline
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umm SecuRom never was a company - the company was sony dadc, digitalworks was just the division, virtualfactory before that, sony retained the rights to securom, that much i can assure you, even though its barely maintained or indeed used anymore..
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Old 11-03-2019, 22:29
isdebuggerpresent isdebuggerpresent is offline
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Starforce driver is dead because it conflicts with Patchguard (they used interrupt hooking which is not allowed on modern Windows)

Securom was offered as protection by Denuvo for 32-bit games when they didn't develop the x86 version yet
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