Introducing Deadlock

June 23rd, 2008
Spencer Nielsen Follow snielsen42 on Twitter

Deadlock logo

Deadlock is the name for my copy-protection/registration framework that I have been using in Language Aid since version 1.0. It has worked faithfully for me since then and I have have decided to share it with other developers who might be looking for such functionality or looking to bump up their protection a little.

I have long heard many developers argue that most of the time pirates wouldn’t purchase your software anyway and so you shouldn’t bother putting that much effort into fighting it except for the most basic and obvious of protections. In most cases it just isn’t economical. I generally agree with this but the reason that I put so much effort into Deadlock to protect a $20 program was more personal education and entertainment than anything else. I must admit that I had a lot of fun thinking of how to hack the program, come up with a countermeasure, then come up with a circumvention of that countermeasure and then engineer a protection against that back and forth over and over again. I mostly just thought of the kinds of reverse-engineering that I have performed on other software for entertainment and then researched methods to prevent such fun. In the end I thought I had a pretty good setup of minimally invasive mechanisms to prevent piracy for my software.

Deadlock has been refined over the course of Language Aid releases and as of Language Aid 1.1.1 it was built out as its own separate product. I have wanted to refine it and add more diverse functionality to it for a long time. To accomplish this Deadlock needs more clients, preferably applications outside of Aoren Software. In the future I also plan on productizing my payment processing engine (works hand in hand with Deadlock) that makes paying for and registering Language Aid easy, fast and instant (no serial numbers, no confirmation emails, just instant gratification). I wanted to end this post by citing one of the many insightful quips from Bruce Schneier in order to emphasize that security invasion is inevitable and that defenses are simply deterrents. Instead I give you this:

The user’s going to pick dancing pigs over security every time.

— Bruce Schneier

Hehe…dancing pigs…

Leave a Reply

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).