Software manufacturers are not sleeping, they are fully aware about piracy and they know perfectly how much of their customers are legitimate and how much have “borrowed” and use their product for free. Various copy protection techniques were developed to prevent that. Moreover, virtually everybody’s computers today are connected, so software can seek for updates online and can also maintain connection with its manufacturer’s servers to check if it is legitimate, so they can block pirated copies of their programs from functioning.
Although for any lock there exist an unlock…
Some advanced software developers know how protection software functions, they follow advancements in that field, they looking at what’s happening there and they manage to issue newer versions of their cracks again and again, and there is no way to stop highly skilled individual from doing so, except maybe jail or fine. But laws differ from one country to another, so situation in juridical field about software piracy is very different in different parts of the world.
So how it actually works inside, how is it possible to bypass protection made by some software developer? Relatively easy for those who know how to create those protection methods.
Software companies often propose so called trial versions of their software to be downloaded for free, for demonstration and test purposes. For some time, often 30 days, anybody can use fully functional version, then it just stops to work and user needs to purchase a license to use it. When he pays online, he receives a so called serial number to enter in the program, then if it is valid, program is getting unblocked and user can continue using it.
Although it is always possible to research program’s internals to find out algorithms used to verify entered numbers and then write a so called valid serial number generator. People can find that generator in internet, it is often called a keygen, download it, launch it and use it to generate a serial number, that a software will accept as valid.
Protection schemes evolve with time, big complicated and expensive software use very sophisticated methods of protection, often few different methods are combined. For example, you have to identify yourself, register online, provide your personal details to software author, then and only then he will provide you with few unique credentials, generated using your details. Program will also verify online if you are in author’s database, and only registered people will be allowed to use that program, otherwise it will be blocked and it will refuse to function, until you will pay for it.
But there are always some rare and highly skilled individuals who are educated and clever enough to bypass even those sophisticated methods. Even if they are few, they still can write so called cracks, that others can download and use. That small program called “crack” will modify the program that user wants to “crack”, so that user will still be able to use for free, despite all efforts made by its author to prevent such a theft.
In a digital world any digital lock can be unlocked, so the only real way to stop piracy is to accept laws, and it was actually did in Germany, Spain, whereas in France a system of warnings was adopted – first time and second time the catched user is getting warned, and only for the third attempt to download paid content illegally, a legal action against him will follow.