I stumbled upon an interesting Internet forum started by someone who posted the following question:
"As an ISV/software publisher, would you produce your own licensing/copy protection solution, or would you buy into a professional solution?"
Even though the discussion was started three years ago, I found the advice given by the participants is still very relevant today. Here a few of the comments I found interesting:
- In general, time you spend developing and supporting your licensing system can be very steep, and it's non value add - it's taking time away from adding features and doing things your customers really want.
- If you can fit your needs into an off the shelf system you are likely to be better off in the long run because they've already figured out that file permissions and encryption work differently on Windows XP Home than Windows Server 2008 or in Turkey or whatever. These aren't problems you want to take up your time.
- There are some very good purchased systems. I'd recommend you seriously examine them before investing significantly in your own system. If you do invest in your own, have it be for a competitive advantage because it is going to occupy a sizable portion of your development budget if you're a small company, at least initially.
- Your time is better spent making and marketing your product rather than wasting thousands of hours needed to make decent licensing in-house.
- I would definitely consider using an off-the-shelf licensing product - developing a license scheme is not so easy and you are better off spending that time on developing your actual core product functionality.
And finally, one software developer pointed out that "To really build an unhackable system takes some serious cryptographic and application structure." What's more, hackers continuously find new and more devious ways to unravel your software, and if copy protection is not your core business, it would be extremely difficult to gain the expertise needed to truly protect your software.
This is where companies like Wibu-Systems come in to play. Software protection and license management is our passion and we've been at it for more than 25 years. In fact, it's all we do. We are on our fifth generation of CodeMeter, our secure software licensing and copy protection platform, that is used by leading software vendors around the world.
Webinar: Hackers Reverse Engineering Uncovered
And on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, at 10 a.m. EDT, we'll demonstrate best practices in software protection during a two-hour webinar, entitled Hackers Reverse Engineering Uncovered. If you are an Independent Software Vendor or Embedded System Manufacturer, you know how important it is to protect your intellectual property and business assets. We'll discuss how you can outsmart the hackers and protect your software from unauthorized license duplication, code manipulation, and reverse engineering. Here are a few of the technical details we'll cover:
- Software protection API calls in .NET
- Usage of Authenticode signatures
- Obfuscation techniques
- Code encryption
- Performance vs. paranoia: how to fine-tune your application
- Integration of features-on-demand
- Examples of traps to lock the license
I hope you can join us.