Software Piracy and Protection
Any computerized environment should be considered potentially unsafe. Over the years many systems have been successfully hacked, and even advanced systems using multiple sophisticated security measures seem to become victims from time to time.
As a consequence any software provider will have to consider, whether their software should contain some form of built-in self-protection to avoid being exploited in a malicious attack. This could involve anti-tampering techniques to prevent the software from being modified, or security measures to protect data and intellectual properties from being stolen or manipulated.
This section deals with these threats looking into both the economic and technical aspects, but it also informs about some security measures, one may consider to apply.
Commercial software often implements some sort of copy protection or license validation. This can be the target of software piracy where cracking is used with the intent to disable the protective measures. Software cracking can also pave the way for many kinds of criminal activities. The cracked software often suffer from being infested with malware and can constitute a vital first step to invade your private life.
Software piracy is a serious worldwide problem. It is quite difficult to get the exact numbers, but some organizations publicize material of their investigations which indicate the commercial value of pirated software is more than $60 billion on a global scale. Software piracy is widespread but especially emerging markets seem to be severely affected.
It is a widespread notion that Enterprise back-end applications or cloud services eliminate the threat of cracking because the software executes in a safe environment.
However, certain important pitfalls exist:
The result can be a false sense of security - with potential fatal consequences. When big centralized installations are compromised the cost can rise into millions of dollars.
Should a malicious intrusion succeed, the back-end applications may often be easily reverse engineered and modified. This exploit could go undetected for a long time and affect thousands of users.
Due to this it is important to consider protecting the most vital/secret parts of an application against cracking.