Product Activation - first post

Discussion in 'Photoshop Tutorials' started by J Stafford, Oct 1, 2003.

  1. J Stafford

    J Stafford Guest

    Adobe's Product Activation (APA)?

    My guess is that Adobe's first target is the _large_ countefeit efforts
    going on overseas, then the rest of them.

    If I read it right, APA allows a copy of PS to be "loaded" only a certain
    number of times, even legitimately within the terms of the existing EULA.
    So, Adobe has a rational scheme for its serial numbers and pirate copiers
    won't know the scheme, and/or the scheme will change over time, so the big
    pirate outfits will have a very difficult time making counterfeit copies
    because Adobe knows every legitimate code, the code can only exist once,
    and the password-serial pair are recorded at Adobe.

    The objective seems to be to have so many failures in activating
    counterfeits that the counterfeiters will loose enough customers to move
    to other targets.

    And I suspect the "limited number of times" PA can be done is forgivable
    in the typical case. Adobe knows when a pattern emerges. I don't think
    they will be draconian. A call to Adobe is all that's probably called for,
    and in my experience, they answer pretty quickly.

    BUT there is this nuisance: If a person upgrades to a new computer every
    two to three years (which in my experience is typical of pros), she/she
    has to call Adobe. How many Adobe products will have APA? And if other
    companies follow the same plan? A person replacing his/her computer will
    be on the damned phone forever. No?

    Adobe - any comments?
    J Stafford, Oct 1, 2003
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  2. J Stafford

    Snaps. Guest

    I think you are a little off target here John.
    There are plenty of code cutters in Asia and Russia more than capable of
    hacking PS's installer and getting it to run again without APA. Don't be
    surprised to discover pirate versions out there which require no activation.
    Personally I hate activation in the extreme. No company in the world has a
    right to hold it's customers to ransom with the evil stuff. Monopolistic
    bastards like Microsoft and Adobe ought to be legally prevented from using
    it. The frustration it causes their legitimate customers cannot be justified
    when their existing profits are as huge as they are.
    Snaps., Oct 1, 2003
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  3. J Stafford

    RTM Guest

    Sounds a lot like that "Software by subscription" I mentioned earlier. Use
    it so many times then you have to buy a new copy?
    And the cost of implementing and maintaining this 'scheme' will stop the
    cost of the product dropping even if piracy falls off.

    Then again, don't the pirates just 'bypass' the activation part of the
    program anyway? No code/serial number is any good if the program doesn't ask
    for it.

    They (counterfeiters) aren't really going to bother, are they. They just
    sell discs, they don't care if they work or not. Who is going to complain?
    and who to?

    (My copy of 5.5 is getting more and more valuable all the time. I reckon
    I'll auction it off in a while and retire on the proceeds.)
    RTM, Oct 1, 2003
  4. J Stafford

    Xalinai Guest

    The official idea behind all online activation schemes is "commercial
    pirates". But those people in Asia and the former eastern block will
    hack through each package by brute force - disassembling done by
    people so cheap you can pay them for months of coding with for price
    of one Adobe package.

    People affected by this are those working with a single stolen copy
    and a serial number from places unknown to me an most of this group.

    And those who legally own the software and have a tendency to upgrade
    or re-configure their hardware quite often.
    That won't happen. A good crack will eliminate the code that asks for
    activation. If this code were spread throughout the application, it
    would be highly probable that lots of quality problems would arise
    from various functions of the program - but if it is in one central
    point, someone only has to cut at the right place...

    No, online activation will be done through the 'net without the user
    knowing for each of the two dozen apps you have... <shudder>

    Xalinai, Oct 1, 2003
  5. J Stafford

    jjs Guest

    If the software key follows an adequate encryption method, it doesn't matter
    whether the hacker knows the algorythm or not. But you know that - we
    address it later here.
    Ah, but with the new scheme, Adobe will know every serial number. That's
    what this APA is all about! One _must_ contact adobe to activate, whether it
    be by net, phone, mail or walking in the door (wherever that is!) So Adobe
    will know what's out there, what's happening and it is easy to apply
    statistical metrics to find outliers, the median and typical. Violators will
    stick out like a sore thumb, and that thumb will get nailed.
    Ah, good point. In other words the hackers will hack to bypass the
    validation so there will be no need for activation. Frankly, I don't know
    how a hacker can change the code without changing the image's fingerprint,
    checksum. Do you?
    jjs, Oct 1, 2003
  6. J Stafford

    jjs Guest

    Heh! I have my original - 3.0 for the Mac still in the box.
    jjs, Oct 1, 2003
  7. J Stafford

    jjs Guest

    Aw, Doug, don't bust my bubble. I have high hopes that Adobe has a very
    clever idea. As I asked later in this thread: if each copy of PS has a
    fingerprint/checksum and activation ties into it from the license-key, then
    will it not be difficult to hack 'en masse? Or possibly Adobe has a far
    more clever idea that implements in the future and ... *awwww* - I'm
    crushed. One of the first rules of information protection is the application
    of misinformation, red-herrings. Maybe APA is part of that scheme. Dunno.
    I'm no deep hacker and am pretty stupid about NSA-like intelligence.

    Okay, I am prepared.
    If PS were crap, and it really did hold us hostage, then I'd agree. But it
    ain't, and it aint, so I don't. Microsoft, on the other hand, is so large
    and touches so many of us in unanticipated ways that they ought to at least
    be held accountable for all the friggin misery and lost money their insecure
    OS and applications have caused us. Where are the tobacco-lawsuit kind of
    lawyers? There's a billion dollars here to be made by the sharks.
    jjs, Oct 1, 2003
  8. J Stafford

    PJD Guest

    You're right. I have scores of programs on my PC. If all had to be
    reactivated after a major upgrade or system failure, I think 'nuisance'
    would be a considerable understatement!

    Activation is a seriously *bad* idea.

    Adobe, please don't descend the path made by Microsoft. You'll only alienate
    your legitimate customers. Please reconsider.
    PJD, Oct 1, 2003
  9. J Stafford

    Rick Guest

    The copy protection game has been going on for 20+ years on
    the PC platform, and no one has come up with an unbreakable
    system. Even Microsoft, a company with virtually unlimited
    money and resources, and who claimed WinXP's WPA would
    be unbreakable, was unable to accomplish it. Does Adobe
    have resources Microsoft doesn't? It's highly unlikely. Sony
    spent $200 million developing an "unbreakable" copy protection
    scheme for music CDs, two blokes in Germany broke it with a
    $.05 felt tip marker. The game gets more absurd every year.

    Like all copy protection schemes, APA will wind up getting
    in the way of just one group -- legitimate paying customers.
    It's a sure sign a company has "jumped the shark", and is
    devoting more time and effort into trying to enshrine its user
    base in concrete rather than making a better product.

    Rick, Oct 1, 2003
  10. J Stafford

    Xalinai Guest

    If virus infected programs can be run, why should other modifications
    make the program unusable?

    And if it is possible to compute a checksum for a new program, it is
    easy to compute one for a modified program.

    (who is not interested in cracks - too many viruses, too bad for
    making business, but strongly believes in online activation being a
    "Bad Thing")
    Xalinai, Oct 1, 2003
  11. J Stafford

    jjs Guest

    I think that lost something in the translation.
    But it won't be the same checksum.
    jjs, Oct 1, 2003
  12. J Stafford

    Xalinai Guest

    Does this matter?

    What do you need a program checksum for? Are you talking about some
    Mac specialty?

    Windows programs don't have checksums that are verified by the OS
    before starting the program. Programs checking their own binary by a
    checksum have code for this verification - which can be avoided like
    the original copy protection.

    Xalinai, Oct 2, 2003
  13. J Stafford

    J Stafford Guest

    I see. Thanks.
    J Stafford, Oct 2, 2003
  14. We had a discussion of activation in a staff meeting a couple of weeks
    ago and I was shocked: My employees told me there were fully functional
    cracks of Macromedia's new Studio MX 2004 products within 48 hours of
    release for both Windows and Mac. No activation apparently required.

    The Macromedia situation is moot right now because we all have decided
    there is no compelling reason to upgrade, but we are struggling with
    activation. We don't like it.

    Kristi Evantas, Oct 4, 2003
  15. J Stafford

    Thomas Guest

    Michael, if you are talking about a program "phoning home" each time it
    is run I can tell you that companies like Intel, Tyco and other large
    firms will outlaw that software on their systems.
    Thomas, Oct 4, 2003
  16. J Stafford

    Xalinai Guest

    Yes. Even Siemens, GM, all major banks will do the same.

    I know. SOHO users are bound to activation but large companies even
    get MS <anything> XP in activation free versions. <naive voice> "That
    is because there nobody can steal the software! </naive voice>

    Marketing still believes that they can force users to become buyers by
    activation schemes and doesn't understand that this is a secure way to
    make people buy -- something different.

    Xalinai, Oct 6, 2003
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