★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

Is there a way to prevent piracy?

04-15-2010, 03:29 PM
#1
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 9
Is there a way to prevent piracy?

The amount of piracy is getting more and more frustrating. People who steal music/games/movies used to argue that they were getting ripped off and those who produced the media deserved it. Yet even apps that can be easily found and purchased immediately for just $0.99 are STILL getting stolen rampantly. how much better a buying environment can people ask for? Prosecuting individual pirates hasn't helped much and probablyn won't unless many more people were prosecuted, which would take enormous resources. ISPs could block service to sites that act as hubs for file-sharing, but that would get into the whole net neutrality thing. What do you all think about this?
04-15-2010, 03:58 PM
#2
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Munich, Germany
Posts: 754
Send a message via Skype™ to mobile1up
Quote:
Originally Posted by floydian05 View Post
The amount of piracy is getting more and more frustrating. People who steal music/games/movies used to argue that they were getting ripped off and those who produced the media deserved it. Yet even apps that can be easily found and purchased immediately for just $0.99 are STILL getting stolen rampantly. how much better a buying environment can people ask for? Prosecuting individual pirates hasn't helped much and probablyn won't unless many more people were prosecuted, which would take enormous resources. ISPs could block service to sites that act as hubs for file-sharing, but that would get into the whole net neutrality thing. What do you all think about this?
nope just ignore them and focus on writing something new

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

04-15-2010, 04:02 PM
#3
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 430
We call it "Free to play" or "Freemium". Can't pirate a free game.

I've made a lot of games. You've played them.
04-15-2010, 04:03 PM
#4
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
You can only make it more annoying...it's pretty easy to detect jailbreak but a lot of legitimate payers jailbreak, so it's bad to give them a poor play experience.

The real answer is no. Not on any platform, ever. If a hacker has physical access to a system it's over. Security is a matter of how hard you want to make it for an attacker; if you really want information fully secure you should destroy it completely, and then when it's destroyed, destroy everything you destroyed it with, where it was stored, etc. and kill the people who knew it.

anyway. when you make it "difficult" for hackers, you make it harder for regular laypeople too. and it only takes on hacker to break it once, and you have hundreds working at it (depending on the software/hardware/etc....) people say PC gaming is dying and it's not because of consoles, it's because of DRM. games cost the same on consoles and PC, it's just that slipping a disc in a console is infinitely more convenient than slipping it in, entering a number, getting authorization, having 5 different DRM drivers that break your computer duke it out, etc. OK there's a lot more to it, like how easy it is to shovel out game after repetitive game using incrementally improved engines on static hardware (PS3/360) as opposed to a moving target....and 100 other issues...but yeah.

anyway rant aside, I'm a security expert, and the answer again is no. don't even worry about it. ignore them and move on. there are hundreds of millions of non-pirates to sell to.

by the way, some people don't have money to play most games that are good. "oh you have an ipod that means you've got money!" well no...it was a gift, for me at least. Im disabled and have 0 cash (I still pay for my itouch games though, you're right, it is a good deal everywhere in the app store) and there's a lot of games I wish I could play.

So here's another way to look at it: if someone is poor or, in my case, poor because they're disabled...does that mean they shouldn't be able to play good games that a rich person can? what about a sliding scale for economic ability? what about a "pay what you can/believe it deserves" system? what about just being happy people are enjoying your work (assuming you get paid enough)? why do you assume the current IP model is in any way fair, or how things "should" be?

Now Playing: , Civilization Rev for iPad, Hero Academy, Sonic Racing, Kingdom Rush, Dungeon Raid, Where's my Where's My Water updates?

Last edited by writingsama; 04-15-2010 at 04:16 PM. Reason: made it less dumb
04-15-2010, 04:14 PM
#5
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippieman View Post
We call it "Free to play" or "Freemium". Can't pirate a free game.
want to bet?
I'm going to go pirate a Linux distribution. just because you said I couldn't.

Now Playing: , Civilization Rev for iPad, Hero Academy, Sonic Racing, Kingdom Rush, Dungeon Raid, Where's my Where's My Water updates?
04-15-2010, 04:14 PM
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by floydian05 View Post
The amount of piracy is getting more and more frustrating. People who steal music/games/movies used to argue that they were getting ripped off and those who produced the media deserved it. Yet even apps that can be easily found and purchased immediately for just $0.99 are STILL getting stolen rampantly. how much better a buying environment can people ask for? Prosecuting individual pirates hasn't helped much and probablyn won't unless many more people were prosecuted, which would take enormous resources. ISPs could block service to sites that act as hubs for file-sharing, but that would get into the whole net neutrality thing. What do you all think about this?
I think we should stop worrying about it. We need to focus on bigger and better things, rather than trying to shoehorn an archaic methodology into current technology.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone
04-15-2010, 05:44 PM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippieman View Post
We call it "Free to play" or "Freemium". Can't pirate a free game.
Uhhhhh..... YEAH YOU CAN! Just google it! You can get any Eliminate, COD Zombies, whatever, in-app purchases for free. And it's not very hard, just requires SSH.

As for the OP's problem. Apple has this API that allows you to verify the UUID that an application is running on with the list of UUIDs that purchased the app and blacklist any mismatches.,
04-15-2010, 07:04 PM
#8
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhondTouch3G View Post
Uhhhhh..... YEAH YOU CAN! Just google it! You can get any Eliminate, COD Zombies, whatever, in-app purchases for free. And it's not very hard, just requires SSH.

As for the OP's problem. Apple has this API that allows you to verify the UUID that an application is running on with the list of UUIDs that purchased the app and blacklist any mismatches.,
useless! just like any other authentication scheme, a trivial crack! replace "is game authentic" function call original:

original
<...all code to verify...then return yes or no>

replacement
<return yes>

That API only stops wholesale copying, but again...it only takes one pirate...

Now Playing: , Civilization Rev for iPad, Hero Academy, Sonic Racing, Kingdom Rush, Dungeon Raid, Where's my Where's My Water updates?
04-15-2010, 08:18 PM
#9
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,206
There is simply no way to stop piracy. If it can be protected, it can be unprotected, and it has been going on since there was something to pirate. Any legitimacy check, no matter how clever or convoluted, can easily be bypassed with a simple return positive authentication hack, just as writingsama mentioned. All they have to do is locate the routine that performs the authentication check(s) and rewrite the part of the code that returns the result of said authentication to always return positive.

You can detect if the app has been cracked, and you can have your app "phone home" with the UDID of the device hacked, and you can even blacklist that UDID, but A) The phone home routine can be rerouted or nulled out altogether, and B) Pirates can fake their UDID.

Even the Freemium model is vulnerable for all but consumables. Non-consumables can be bought by the hacker and distributed with the IPA.

Just ignore the pirates. Pirates will pirate regardless of what you try, and the vast majority of them would never be converted to sales if they couldn't get a hacked copy of your app anyway. Focus on the legit customers. It's the only way.

[Relax with Galactic Chill] [Let me tell you a story.]
Currently working on: Music for Spirit Hunter Mineko
04-16-2010, 07:26 AM
#10
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
However big, or small, the damage of piracy is, I don't think it should be brushed aside. Because if we do that, we are sending a dangerous message that says it's okay to pirate, and if you do that, it won't be long before all of your customers become pirates.


While the bigger picture proves that the solution to piracy requires education to the public, more policing by the government, and a solution from Apple; there are things developers can do to help the spread of their app. You can file DMCA requests to all piracy app download sites — believe it or not, most will actually remove the file. You can also implement security measures in the app, which may get broken eventually, but can make it much more difficult for someone to hack, to the extent that it will take them longer to crack, and maybe that they may even give up.

Last edited by EssentialParadox; 04-16-2010 at 07:32 AM.