Archive for the 'Law' Category

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…

Cryptographic Timestamping

July 15th, 2007
Spencer Nielsen Follow snielsen42 on Twitter

A few years ago I had a great idea for a business that I thought had great potential. The idea was cryptographic timestamping. A way to prove that certain documents or other pieces of information existed at a certain point in time. It would be a great way to fight plagiarism, establish disclosure or just prove that a certain document has existed from a specific point in time. It would be a relatively low overhead business, technically. All that you would need to do is to put up a couple of servers that would create/store signatures and maintain payment accounts. Customers themselves would be responsible to keep their documents safe but the service when presented with the document could verify it’s authenticity and the timestamp of its origin. Recently I thought about this idea again and started to look around to see if anybody has done anything similar. It looks like has beaten me to the punch by about 8 years. The service looks very similar to what I had envisioned with methods for legal verification of the timestamp and everything. It looks to be a quality service with reasonable prices. I may have to take advantage of it sometime.

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).