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Fight back against piracy?

02-14-2010, 11:04 PM
#1
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 808
Fight back against piracy?

I would like to discuss with some devs about their opinions on piracy and what we can do to fight back. Yes, this has been discussed to death before, but nobody really does anything... After reading the ridiculous rationalization for piracy on the old pirate site, and being shocked at how efficient the new pirate site is, I think it is time to take matters into our own hands.

I propose embedding a ddos attack in our free iPhone apps to take out the pirate sites. There, I said it... With these sites offline, it is far more difficult to pirate apps. The ddos would use very little resources on the end user's phone - it is basically just opening a bunch of connections and holding them without doing anything, to keep the server waiting and unable to service new requests (search for "slow loris ddos"). Obviously this action can be disguised so it will be very hard to detect, such as contacting a master control server to get the target, only launching a ddos after a set amount of app activity, only a random chance to attack, etc etc

I also suggest devs actively search for pirated versions of their apps on file hosting sites like rapidshare, mediafire etc and serve DMCA notices to get the files taken down. If any site does not comply with these notices in a timely manner, please post the info here. I have had good success with this in the past.

Thoughts?

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Last edited by ImNoSuperMan; 02-15-2010 at 02:22 AM. Reason: fixed
02-14-2010, 11:45 PM
#2
That sounds awesome and I (as much as we all do) want piracy to stop. It scares away the big guys and the small ones too. But in the end, you can NEVER end piracy. You just can't! People still pirate the big platforms but on a smaller scale.

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02-15-2010, 12:17 AM
#3
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Munich, Germany
Posts: 754
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Poole View Post
I also suggest devs actively search for pirated versions of their apps on file hosting sites like rapidshare, mediafire etc and serve DMCA notices to get the files taken down. If any site does not comply with these notices in a timely manner, please post the info here. I have had good success with this in the past.
i've tried this.. some sites listen - some don't - the biggest offender?

it is also not recommended to post the site names here; i had a post removed for doing so earlier on. if users don't know about them yet - lets keep it that way. we could use the private forum as well. it is a pity that apple doesn't provide us information on uuid's that purchase applications so that we could do our own network validation periodically of our applications against our own servers. i would do this if we could.

Kyle - you remember my discussions about anti-piracy back in the palm os days surely

// Aaron Ardiri
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02-15-2010, 12:25 AM
#4
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 339
I'm not a dev, but I use torrent sites to grab TV shows and such that I missed, and trust me, even with those sites you mentioned offline, it isn't hard to find pirated apps. I'm tempted to post on pirated app torrents for games I really like saying 'Just go buy it, it's worth it!!' but of course, it won't do any good.

I read on the Across Age thread that the game has something to freeze the game at a certain point if it's not a legitimate version. This is great, but it's only a matter of time before a patched version is released. I've seen this happen many times with pirated DS games. Contacting hosting sites and asking them to remove apps is great, but it would seem like it could be a lot of extra work for the devs, and since most of those sites are generally unmonitored, as soon as an app gets taken down, it could just show up again. With torrents sites, I doubt there's much you could do... You could try at least, but I would think that whichever one you contacted wouldn't take responsibility, since they aren't actually hosting anything.

As far as DDOSing... Neat idea and probably would work against such sites, but you'd be asking for trouble if this was tried against general hosting sites or torrent sites. I completely understand the intent here, but I'm not sure how people who actually buy apps would feel about being forced into something like that, especially if it wasn't clear up front and they found out later, probably wouldn't be good for the dev's reputation. Not sure how Apple would feel about that either.

Sorry to be kind of the devil's advocate here, but this is how I view the piracy problem. It really does suck, developers have to spend more time and money trying to curb piracy, while the pirates usually find workarounds and the people who pay for apps or other software get screwed with having to mess with all the DRM crap.

One thing I'm not sure on, so for apps like Pac-Man Championship Edition, where you buy the game at X price and have to buy the rest of the game via in-app purchase, is it possible for pirates to crack those and unlock the full game without paying? I would assume yes unfortunately, but if not, then that would be really cool. Sort of the lite version with full game unlock via in-app purchase model. The downside is I don't think you can really do App Store sales, but it might be worth it if it would in fact help fight piracy.

Last edited by ImNoSuperMan; 02-15-2010 at 02:23 AM. Reason: fixed
02-15-2010, 12:32 AM
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by misfitskater6 View Post


One thing I'm not sure on, so for apps like Pac-Man Championship Edition, where you buy the game at X price and have to buy the rest of the game via in-app purchase, is it possible for pirates to crack those and unlock the full game without paying? I would assume yes unfortunately, but if not, then that would be really cool. Sort of the lite version with full game unlock via in-app purchase model. The downside is I don't think you can really do App Store sales, but it might be worth it if it would in fact help fight piracy.
In short. No. But it's possible. (fake numbers) but say 1 million people are pirates, then probably 10,000 are probably dlc pirates. I think it's possible but very very hard

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Minecraft
02-15-2010, 01:02 AM
#6
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,242
It isn't necessarily that hard to pirate DLC. I SSH'ed into an app just to see if it was possible for me to get 'points' for free (I wasn't going to actually pirate it, I just wanted to see if someone would be so stupid as to make it possible to pirate them). It was fairly easy to get to, and, if I wanted to, I could have set the number to like, 10 or something (it was at 3).

Licensed and Certified Legacy User
02-15-2010, 01:37 AM
#7
I'm dev, and I have been since I released Snails for PocketPC back in 2002. I am personally not in favor of any type of backlash towards pirates. It is okay to contact the site directly and ask them to remove it, but at the same time I think the developer should leave it up to the site whether they remove it or not (otherwise, it isn't a REQUEST, it is a DEMAND).

If they don't remove it, then just let it go. If they do, then great. Either way, move on.

I know I'm in the minority, and I don't really care. I'm as much of a consumer as I am a developer, and I ****ING HATE DRM, and I have a blatant dislike for DLC. In fact, i've deleted every single DLC game I've ever downloaded.

This is simply my opinion, and I do not speak for the industry (thank god).

If I could do Flickitty all over again, I would release the game it two versions: a full version (paid) in the top 8 countries and a full version (free) in the remaining countries. If someone wants the game for free, they can simply change the country to Russia (or whatever) and download it there.

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Last edited by Flickitty; 02-15-2010 at 01:40 AM.
02-15-2010, 01:54 AM
#8
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,206
I actually have a question regarding the cracked apps. Do devs actually disassemble the executable and bypass protection schemes like standard crackers do? Or do they have that sort of access to the executables? (Isn't there DRM on them when downloaded from the App Store?) If they aren't disassembling and bypassing, then wouldn't it be reasonable simply to do something like turn into a lite version while destroying full version files or something?

As much as I'd like to see the pirate sites shut down, I can't really condone DDOS attacks, even those that are light on resources. It smacks too much of vigilante justice. I'm not sure about the legality of DDOS attacks either, but carriers don't like it and you'd be putting people at risk. Granted, those at risk would be pirates, but still...

Depending on how effective it is I'd rather have the app cripple itself in some fashion.

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02-15-2010, 02:05 AM
#9
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 820
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindfield View Post
I actually have a question regarding the cracked apps. Do devs actually disassemble the executable and bypass protection schemes like standard crackers do? Or do they have that sort of access to the executables? (Isn't there DRM on them when downloaded from the App Store?) If they aren't disassembling and bypassing, then wouldn't it be reasonable simply to do something like turn into a lite version while destroying full version files or something?

As much as I'd like to see the pirate sites shut down, I can't really condone DDOS attacks, even those that are light on resources. It smacks too much of vigilante justice. I'm not sure about the legality of DDOS attacks either, but carriers don't like it and you'd be putting people at risk. Granted, those at risk would be pirates, but still...

Depending on how effective it is I'd rather have the app cripple itself in some fashion.
I'm not a developer, so I may be completely off, but I heard that some PC developers use to put something like this in their games. There was something embedded in the code that corrupted the game, or so I heard. Not sure how easy or hard that would be, but a failsafe for when DRM is broken could be an excellent way to battle this (if it is possible).

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02-15-2010, 02:20 AM
#10
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Munich, Germany
Posts: 754
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txag2005 View Post
I'm not a developer, so I may be completely off, but I heard that some PC developers use to put something like this in their games. There was something embedded in the code that corrupted the game, or so I heard. Not sure how easy or hard that would be, but a failsafe for when DRM is broken could be an excellent way to battle this (if it is possible).
as a seasoned experience anti-piracy advocate - don't bother!

iphone applications are cracked using scripts - you will find that most crackers dont even have to disassemble/modify the code base. we used a myraid of options when tackling our protection on palm os - in fact, we even wrote a paper about it. the success we had was to force users to register via a website; and then download a binary file that contained code encrypted against personal information we embed.

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/23890544...are-Protection

if we ever found someone distributing it; we could track it back to a specific user; which - typically linked back ot a credit card (and address). i remember calling a guy once and he literally tore an ear of his child for buying a game and then distributing it through warez channels. it was funny - but, i moved on from that practice these days.

// Aaron Ardiri
Mobile 1UP is a proud indie developer - support us!
developer of Caveman / Caveman HD and GW Series