CURBING SOFTWARE PIRACY IN DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT USING CODE SPLITTING, OBFUSCATION AND FINGERPRINTING TECHNIQUES

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CURBING SOFTWARE PIRACY IN DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT USING CODE SPLITTING, OBFUSCATION AND FINGERPRINTING TECHNIQUES

Abstract

Software Piracy has become a major problem for businesses and its widespread in many parts of the world leads to financial losses and harm to consumers. These problems caused the deployment of many security techniques to control piracy. A lot of researches have been done on software security techniques but unfortunately protecting software source code in development environment has been a challenge for software companies as software source codes are not yet transformed to unreadable codes. Therefore, software piracy emanating from development environments, mostly by insiders, has been a big problem to tackle because the prevalent software protection techniques were primarily developed for use at production stage. Based on the literature review, no research was found on piracy reduction in development environment. In this research work an architecture has been proposed and implemented based on design obfuscation that enables tracking pirated standalone software at development stage using the hardware and software aspects, online or off-line, and tracing vulnerable PCs within a company. Code Splitting, obfuscation and fingerprinting techniques were used to design the proposed architecture. Two examination results processing software: Exams Logic 2.0 and ELogicPLUS were used to test the proposed architecture for existing and new applications respectively. The result was compared with the result of the reviewed work and found to be improved. For both the two applications, it was found that the proposed architecture is feasible and effective

Background of the Study

Software Piracy is the unauthorized use, distribution or copying of software illegally. It has become a major problem for businesses and it’s widespread in many parts of the world leads to financial losses and harm to consumers (Rouse, 2005). The Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Software Publishers Association (SPA) are organizations meant for reducing piracy worldwide. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. It is an association of nearly 100 world-class companies that invest billions of dollars annually to create software solutions that spark the economy and improve modern life (BSA, 2011) . These organizations estimated that there are two-third illegal copies of software available for every legal copy of software sold and had piracy rates of 62 percent or higher (BSA, 2011). The 2010 BSA/IDC study demonstrates that even a modest reduction in software theft would have significant multiplier effects on the economic contribution of the packaged software industry. This makes software piracy a major problem for the software industries and to the world economy in general.

Software industries always strongly depend on copyrights and other Intellectual Property (IP) to drive innovation and ensure a return on investment in R&D. Hence, protecting their products from being pirated is one of the major tasks they consider in order to keep the company up and running. With the improvement in technology over decades, software vulnerabilities such as Reverse Engineering increase at almost the same pace with technology. For almost every software protection technique there is an equivalent hacking technique for it.

In the case of packaged software, it is common to find counterfeit copies of CDs incorporating the software programs, as well as related packaging, manuals, license agreements, labels, registration cards and security features. Counterfeiting is a serious problem for the software industry, as advances in technology have enabled a growing number and variety of commercial enterprises to manufacture and distribute counterfeit software on a massive scale. This is because the risks of being caught are relatively low and penalties are far less than for engaging in other illegal activities (BSA, 2011).

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CURBING SOFTWARE PIRACY IN DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT USING CODE SPLITTING, OBFUSCATION AND FINGERPRINTING TECHNIQUES

 

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