The Hacks Behind Cracking, Part 1: How to Bypass Software Registration

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The vendor is never named, and given that the title of the URL is sharewarejustice. But it is data, and without the registration key concept and pervasive internet connectivity , we’d have no data whatsoever to quantify how much piracy actually exists. I’ll choose biased data over no data whatsoever, every time. I don’t have a problem with registration keys. You could, in fact, argue that registration key validation actually works.
how to crack software registration

Software Registration Keys

Two crossed lines that form an ‘X’. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. If you’ve ever wondered how software pirates can take software and crack it time and time again, even with security in place, this small series is for you. Even with today’s most advanced methods of defeating piracy in place, it is still relatively easy to crack almost any program in the world.

This is mainly due to computer processes’ ability to be completely manipulated by an assembly debugger. Using this, you can completely bypass the registration process by making it skip the application’s key code verification process without using a valid key. This works because assembly allows you to speak directly to the processor and force a skip over the registration process. In this Null Byte , let’s go over how cracking could work in practice by looking at an example program a program that serves no purpose other than for me to hack.

I will not be walking you through how to actually crack a legitimate program, because I can’t just crack a program for demonstration, but the techniques applied to my examples should give you the foundation needed to create your own. At that point, it’s a test of your morals if you want to use your knowledge for good or bad.

Requirements Windows for examples only, debuggers exist across platforms A debugger installed: IDA , ollydbg , etc. This is to verify that we can come up with the keys. Step 2 Run the Program in a Debugger Run ollydbg. Open up the program you wish to bypass with ollydbg.

Click the play button to run the program with the debugger attached. Search for high interest DLLs. By stepping into the function with the debugger, we can examine the registration specifically. Test to see which one works to break out of the activation loop by right clicking the DLL call and setting a breakpoint for all instances of that call.

Resume the program and enter any software key you feel like. If the debugger breaks pauses the program’s execution after entering your key, then you know you found DLL in step 5. EAX is the return of a value, which means that a check is being performed here. Upon examination, we can see that the EAX is checking for a number that is not equal to a null value.

This means that if it is replaced with anything other than null, it will run. Right-click the EAX and change it in hex value to 1, instead of 0. Resume the program again, and you will have successfully activated the program. And for proof it was registered to me: This works because you are making the process jump from one register and skip the one that verifies the key entered.

To exploit the key registration algorithm, keep an eye out for part two of this tutorial on making the key generator. Hooray for assembly! Post to the forums.

Step 1 Test the Program

History[ edit ] The first software copy protection was applied to software for the Apple II , [12] Atari , and Commodore 64 computers. Software publishers have implemented increasingly complex methods in an effort to stop unauthorized copying of software. On the Apple II, unlike modern computers that use standardized device drivers to manage device communications, the operating system directly controlled the step motor that moves the floppy drive head, and also directly interpreted the raw data, called nibbles, read from each track to identify the data sectors. This allowed complex disk-based software copy protection, by storing data on half tracks 0, 1, 2. In addition, tracks did not need to be perfect rings, but could be sectioned so that sectors could be staggered across overlapping offset tracks, the most extreme version being known as spiral tracking. It was also discovered that many floppy drives did not have a fixed upper limit to head movement, and it was sometimes possible to write an additional 36th track above the normal 35 tracks. The standard Apple II copy programs could not read such protected floppy disks, since the standard DOS assumed that all disks had a uniform track, or sector layout.

VIDEO: Using API Monitor to crack copy protected software |

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