Software cracking

crackingcrackscrackcrackedcrackercrackerscracked softwaresoftware crackersoftware crackerscracking groups
Software cracking (known as "breaking" in the 1980s ) is the modification of software to remove or disable features which are considered undesirable by the person cracking the software, especially copy protection features (including protection against the manipulation of software, serial number, hardware key, date checks and disc check) or software annoyances like nag screens and adware.wikipedia
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Copy protection

anti-piracycopy-protectedcopy protected
Software cracking (known as "breaking" in the 1980s ) is the modification of software to remove or disable features which are considered undesirable by the person cracking the software, especially copy protection features (including protection against the manipulation of software, serial number, hardware key, date checks and disc check) or software annoyances like nag screens and adware.
Copy protection for computer software, especially for games, has been a long cat-and-mouse struggle between publishers and crackers.

Fairlight (group)

FairlightFairlight / Virtual DreamsFLT
Fairlight pointed out in one of their .nfo files that these type of cracks are not allowed for warez scene game releases.
FairLight (FLT) is a warez and demo group initially involved in the Commodore demoscene, and in cracking to illegally release games for free, since 1987.

Trainer (games)

trainerstrainergame trainer
A well-known example of a loader is a trainer used to cheat in games.
In the 1980s and 1990s, trainers were generally integrated straight into the actual game by cracking groups.

Keygen

Key changer (software)keygensproduct key generators
Some of these tools are called keygen, patch, or loader.
Illegitimate key generators are typically distributed by software crackers in the warez scene and demoscene.

.nfo

NFONFO fileNFO files
Fairlight pointed out in one of their .nfo files that these type of cracks are not allowed for warez scene game releases.
Such organizations are also known as warez groups or crack groups.

Crack intro

cracktrocracktrosintros
The cracker groups of the 1980s started to advertise themselves and their skills by attaching animated screens known as crack intros in the software programs they cracked and released.
A crack intro, also known as a cracktro, loader, or just intro, is a small introduction sequence added to cracked software.

Demoscene

demodemosdemo scene
Once the technical competition had expanded from the challenges of cracking to the challenges of creating visually stunning intros, the foundations for a new subculture known as demoscene were established.
The demoscene's roots are in the home computer revolution of the late 1970s, and the subsequent advent of software cracking.

Crackme

Educational resources for reverse engineering and software cracking are, however, legal and available in the form of Crackme programs.
They are programmed by other reversers as a legal way to crack software, since no intellectual property is being infringed upon.

Reverse engineering

reverse engineeredreverse engineerreverse-engineered
Educational resources for reverse engineering and software cracking are, however, legal and available in the form of Crackme programs. This is accomplished by reverse engineering the compiled program code using a debugger such as SoftICE, x64dbg, OllyDbg, GDB, or MacsBug until the software cracker reaches the subroutine that contains the primary method of protecting the software (or by disassembling an executable file with a program such as IDA). The High Cracking University (+HCU), was founded by Old Red Cracker (+ORC), considered a genius of reverse engineering and a legendary figure in RCE, to advance research into Reverse Code Engineering (RCE).
This process is commonly used for "cracking" software and media to remove their copy protection, or to create a (possibly improved) copy or even a knockoff, which is usually the goal of a competitor or a hacker.

SoftICE

Kernel mode debugger
This is accomplished by reverse engineering the compiled program code using a debugger such as SoftICE, x64dbg, OllyDbg, GDB, or MacsBug until the software cracker reaches the subroutine that contains the primary method of protecting the software (or by disassembling an executable file with a program such as IDA).
Because of its low-level capabilities, SoftICE is also popular as a software cracking tool.

Nuke (warez)

nukenukednukewar
A nukewar has shown that the protection may not kick in at any point for it to be a valid crack.
Examples of content that could be "nuked" include non-working software, non-working cracks, videos with out-of-sync audio, watermarked videos, or music recordings with excessive "skips".

Warez scene

The Scenescenesoftware sharing
Fairlight pointed out in one of their .nfo files that these type of cracks are not allowed for warez scene game releases.
The warez scene started emerging in the 1970s, used by predecessors of software cracking and reverse engineering groups.

Debugger

debuggersdebuggingDebugger front-end
This is accomplished by reverse engineering the compiled program code using a debugger such as SoftICE, x64dbg, OllyDbg, GDB, or MacsBug until the software cracker reaches the subroutine that contains the primary method of protecting the software (or by disassembling an executable file with a program such as IDA). The binary is then modified using the debugger or a hex editor or monitor in a manner that replaces a prior branching opcode with its complement or a NOP opcode so the key branch will either always execute a specific subroutine or skip over it.
The same functionality which makes a debugger useful for eliminating bugs allows it to be used as a software cracking tool to evade copy protection, digital rights management, and other software protection features.

Commodore 64

C6464Commodore
The first software copy protection was applied to software for the Apple II, Atari 800, and Commodore 64 computers.. Software publishers have implemented increasingly complex methods in an effort to stop unauthorized copying of software.
These boards sometimes were used to distribute cracked software.

OllyDbg

This is accomplished by reverse engineering the compiled program code using a debugger such as SoftICE, x64dbg, OllyDbg, GDB, or MacsBug until the software cracker reaches the subroutine that contains the primary method of protecting the software (or by disassembling an executable file with a program such as IDA).
It is often used by crackers to crack software made by other developers.

List of warez groups

SKIDROWwarez groupcourier groups
Warez groups are teams of individuals who have participated in the organized unauthorized publication of films, music, or other media, as well as those who can reverse engineer and crack the digital rights management (DRM) measures applied to commercial software.

Warez

piratepiracyWarez scene
The circumvention of copy protection (cracking) is an essential step in generating warez, and based on this common mechanism, the software-focused definition has been extended to include other copyright-protected materials, including movies and games.

Warez group

release groupswarez groupsgroups
There are a number of sites on the Internet that let users download cracks produced by warez groups for popular games and applications (although at the danger of acquiring malicious software that is sometimes distributed via such sites).
ANALOG Computing observed in 1984 that software piracy did not make sense economically to those performing the software cracking.

Old Red Cracker

The High Cracking University (+HCU), was founded by Old Red Cracker (+ORC), considered a genius of reverse engineering and a legendary figure in RCE, to advance research into Reverse Code Engineering (RCE).

NOP (code)

NOPno-opNo Operation
The binary is then modified using the debugger or a hex editor or monitor in a manner that replaces a prior branching opcode with its complement or a NOP opcode so the key branch will either always execute a specific subroutine or skip over it.
NOPs are often involved when cracking software that checks for serial numbers, specific hardware or software requirements, presence or absence of hardware dongles, etc. This is accomplished by altering functions and subroutines to bypass security checks and instead simply return the expected value being checked for.

SecuROM

SecuROM 8
Advanced reverse engineering for protections such as SecuROM, SafeDisc, StarForce, or Denuvo requires a cracker, or many crackers to spend much time studying the protection, eventually finding every flaw within the protection code, and then coding their own tools to "unwrap" the protection automatically from executable (.EXE) and library (.DLL) files.
In January 2016, a working keygen for online activation of SecuROM was released on a software cracking forum.

Software

Computer softwareSoftware & Programmingsoftware technology
Software cracking (known as "breaking" in the 1980s ) is the modification of software to remove or disable features which are considered undesirable by the person cracking the software, especially copy protection features (including protection against the manipulation of software, serial number, hardware key, date checks and disc check) or software annoyances like nag screens and adware.

Shareware

Trialwaredemowaretrial version
Software cracking (known as "breaking" in the 1980s ) is the modification of software to remove or disable features which are considered undesirable by the person cracking the software, especially copy protection features (including protection against the manipulation of software, serial number, hardware key, date checks and disc check) or software annoyances like nag screens and adware.

Adware

ad-supportedad-sponsoredAd-supported software
Software cracking (known as "breaking" in the 1980s ) is the modification of software to remove or disable features which are considered undesirable by the person cracking the software, especially copy protection features (including protection against the manipulation of software, serial number, hardware key, date checks and disc check) or software annoyances like nag screens and adware.

Serial number

msnc/nmanufacturer's serial number
A crack refers to the means of achieving, for example a stolen serial number or a tool that performs that act of cracking.