Software cracking

Software cracking is the modification of software to remove encoded copy prevention. Distribution of cracked software (warez) is generally an illegal (or more recently, criminal) act of copyright infringement. Software cracking is most often done by software reverse engineering.

A good example of a software crack would be a "No-CD" crack, which is made by reverse engineering the program code so that the original distribution CD-ROM is no longer needed to execute the program. The crack is mainly used by legal buyers of software. However, this crack is sometimes used by people who have downloaded a full version of a computer game or a program off of the Internet and through P2P networks as well. No-CD cracks remove the need to put the CD into the CD-ROM drive; thus making access to the program easier and less of a chore.

Similar cracks are available for software that requires a hardware dongle. Another example occurs when businesses break the copy prevention of programs that they have legally purchased but that are licensed to particular hardware, so that there is no risk of downtime due to hardware failure (and, of course, no need to restrict oneself to running the software on said hardware only).

The passing of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) legislation has made software cracking, as well as the distribution of information which enables software cracking, illegal in the United States. Some groups devoted to developing tools for software cracks and the distribution of cracked software include the Phrozen Crew, UCF, CORE, TNO, and DrinkOrDie.

Software cracking might become much harder to perform with the release of the Fritz-chip in combination with certain software, like nexus in the next major operating system from Microsoft, code-named Longhorn. It will be virtually impossible to crack the actual encryption. One way to bypass the copy prevention (not the encryption) might be to emulate a computer with a compromised Fritz-chip. One could then crack the software while it is in the emulator, and then extract it to a real computer.


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