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ExCyber --> Copyprotected disks.

Discussion in 'Saturn Dev' started by Trenton net, Feb 25, 2002.

  1. Trenton net

    Trenton net New Member

    Hi,

    Im currently developing software and Im very intrested in the types of techniqes that you can do to make software copyprotected. Is there some special way to burn a CD that has data that isn't directly copyied from CD-ROM to CD-R?

    I thought about making an odd track ordered CD, but Im still thinking about how to get the orignal burners to create the disks in the first place. The very same ones I want to prevent software theft from occuring in. I suppose once the disks have the protection writen in, its only a matter of adding a fuction in my software which checks its presents and some other basic things before loading.

    Thanks for your time, I really appreciate it.
     
  2. ExCyber

    ExCyber Staff Member

    Unless you're going to mass production (actually, I'm not really familiar with how copy protection is implemented here since I've never worked with the equipment), you probably won't have access to anything that can beat tools such as CloneCD and Blindwrite paired with a proper burner. You could do stuff that makes the discs a bit more difficult to copy, but as long as you're working with consumer-level equipment you're not really going to be able to stop it. If you're still interested, send me a private message and I can explain some of the ideas I have...
     
  3. jivemaster

    jivemaster New Member

    Hey guys,

    Last time I checked, there are tools available (both free and paid for), which allow the creation of "copy-protected" disks. Most of these work by patching the iso of your program, creating bad sectors and thus creating a un-copyable disc. Not sure how good they are though.

    Like ExCyber said, it's pretty hard to make an un-copyable disc unless you're in mass production and you can pay for a commercial protection algo.

    -Jive
     
  4. megametalgreymon

    megametalgreymon New Member

    and even if you did manage to protect it, it only takes a small group to manage to defeat its copy protection and its ripped and available all over the net anyway
     
  5. ExCyber

    ExCyber Staff Member

    I have no idea how this would stop anything other than someone who copies the files from the disc and tries to remaster it. Just about any kind of image copy would copy the bad sectors, no questions asked.

    At this point, it very much becomes a war of psychology and effort. It can be assumed that a cracker will only crack something that:

    1) the cracker has the necessary skills and tools to crack

    2) the cracker believes is worth the effort of cracking

    While it's clearly impossible to apply a copy protection scheme that *can't* be cracked, it's entirely possible, for these reasons, to apply one that *won't* be cracked, at least not for a substantial amount of time. Still, in order to create a sufficiently painful protection scheme, a devloper would probably have to make compromises such as delaying release, increasing development difficulty, or decreasing compatibility.
     
  6. jivemaster

    jivemaster New Member

    Trenton net,

    I have looked further into this for you and there appears to be several programs which may be able to help you if you're still interested. I don't want to name any names in case I get in trouble, but most of these programs work in one of several ways:

    1. The CD image file is patched and an illegal TOC is made. This is usually bypassable these days by most CD-ROMS and writers.

    2. The CD image file is patched with dummy audio tracks, both at the start (before data) and end of the CD. Many CD-ROMS will refuse to create an image of this and thus cannot make a copy.

    3. A variation of the above with dummy audio tracks. Several tracks are added, consequently making the CD appear as if it's 900 MB is size. The CD may allow an image, but will refuse to write. This is usually not bypassable unless the image contents are edited.

    4. The layout of the CD image file is patched, making the CD virtually impossible to copy. The directory tree / data layout is made invalid / corrupted.

    Hope that elightens you...

    -Jive
     
  7. Gear

    Gear New Member

    Can you post information (or sources) of how to create the patches?
     
  8. ExCyber

    ExCyber Staff Member

    I see several logical problems in these schemes.

    "2. The CD image file is patched with dummy audio tracks, both at the start (before data) and end of the CD. Many CD-ROMS will refuse to create an image of this and thus cannot make a copy."

    I can't see how this would be accomplished without making the CD unreadable. If your program can read it, so can a burning program. You can't have one without the other, because they have access to the same set of reading methods provided by the OS and/or hardware.

    "3. A variation of the above with dummy audio tracks. Several tracks are added, consequently making the CD appear as if it's 900 MB is size. The CD may allow an image, but will refuse to write. This is usually not bypassable unless the image contents are edited."

    AFAIK, there are several burning programs that would have no problem writing this type of layout when paired with the appropriate burner. Besides, if burners will refuse to write it, how do you propose that the original authorized discs be burned?

    "4. The layout of the CD image file is patched, making the CD virtually impossible to copy. The directory tree / data layout is made invalid / corrupted."

    See #2.
     
  9. fools

    fools New Member

    this is not true. Domestic CD writers cannot create bad sectors on a CD. The placing of deliberate bad sectors on the CD was the method of copy protection originally used on the playstation, and in several other cases iirc
     
  10. ExCyber

    ExCyber Staff Member

    I've got several CD-Rs that say you're wrong. Consumer burners don't let you specify the IEC 908 / Red Book EDC/ECC stuff, but many do let you specify the Mode 1 / ECMA 130 (168? can't remember atm) ECC/EDC stuff. There's a *lot* more to CD sector organization than "bad" and "good" sectors. Besides, if consumer burners couldn't do it, it would be useless for the stated application anyway.

    My most recent poking around in various documentation indicates that the PSX protection is actually quite a bit more fiendish than that. Suffice it to say that I now believe that it's fundamentally impossible to burn a self-booting PSX/PS2 disc with standard CD-R media, at least without substantial hardware (not firmware) mods to the burner.

    edit: changed a word to make the statement make a bit more sense

    (Edited by ExCyber at 7:11 am on Mar. 7, 2002)
     

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