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Email tracking and protection against leakage

27 Sep 2017
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova

I mostly use Outlook to work with emails and from time to time I feel a necessity to track the opening of my emails by the addressees. There are a lot of email trackers for Gmail but only a few are capable to work with the Windows client correctly. The idea of email trackers is old enough to invent tools to block email trackers. For example the Ugly email service detects components of some trackers and on the site you can see what trackers can be blocked.

And sometimes cruel monetization comes, as it happened with Signals when a CRM absorbed the tracker and now it is available only as a part of a big system on chargeable basis. So search of a good tracker never stops.

Monitoring of eBooks sharing on the Internet. How to track leakage and react to the piracy

29 Aug 2017
Pavel Korobov
Pavel Korobov
Many business areas have found analogues on the Internet. This also applies to the book selling. In the physical world, only the fact of sale is important and further pirated reproduction is a laborious and thankless task. We cannot say the same about electronic books, since there is a risk of copying and leakage due to the digital form, which significantly reduces sales. Authors and publishers must ask themselves - how can I can track the fact that my electronic book has leaked into free access and what should I do in this case?

How to promote your book: 21 great ideas

14 Jul 2017
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
Suppose, you have written a wonderful book and ready to present it to your potential readers. Unless you are Joanne Rowling, you have to struggle through competition and information noise to reach your  reader. Follow our advice and your book will be successful!

Cybersecurity of ATMs: how to prevent direct dispense?

28 Jun 2017
Svetozar Yakhontov
Svetozar Yakhontov
On the assumption of our practice more than 40 percent of the implemented by our company projects on the software security of automatic teller machines (ATMs) and self-service terminals is post incident. In years 2014-2016 within the Russian Federation's territory more than 30 incidents occurred, generally the “direct dispense” attacks to ATMs in two scores of banks. A range of banks suffered from repeated series of attacks, the resources for implementing on-line counter measures on the territory-distributed area network were not enough.

Running old games on new operating systems

23 May 2017
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
We ourselves are a part of the fan army who likes to play old computer games and it does not matter what it is: nostalgia for the past or appealing to the ageless classics. The main thing is that we send the owners of games without patches to the technical support of publishers, and they return them to us by boomerang, incorrectly stating that only we can solve this technical problem.

How to Sell Information Products Through Your Own Website

19 May 2017
Pavel Korobov
Pavel Korobov

Developers and creators of information products, as a rule, are interested in selling content through their own websites; however, the development of websites is not an easy task even for experienced users. This is a how-to article for those, who are not familiar with the technologies of website building.

New Binding Parameters for Better Tamper Resistance

18 Apr 2017
Pavel Korobov
Pavel Korobov
As you may know, StarForce protection system uses a tool called "binding" to provide a tamper resistant protection along with many other features.

USB Flash Drives copy protection: StarForce version

31 Mar 2017
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova

We live in a world full of threats. And our mission is to reduce the threat level for publishers: people and companies that create unique content for sale. Using our products, they get the confidence that their applications, courses, books will be sold, instead of being downloaded for free from pirate sites.

In March 2017 StarForce Technologies presented copy protection with a binding to USB Flash Drives. In this post I am going to tell why we have selected a binding method for copy protection and how it works for USB Flash Drives.

The Server of Hitachi Payment Systems Infected ATMs of India and compromised millions of cards

21 Feb 2017
Svetozar Yakhontov
Svetozar Yakhontov
In mid-2016 one of the servers of Hitachi Payment Systems was attacked by malicious software, by which the criminals got data from the ATMs of State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and Axis Bank. Currently, 19 banks and 641 customers noticed fraudulent activities with the cards. To reduce risks the banks have blocked compromised cards and advised its customers to change the PIN.

Periodic License Confirmation. Why You Need It

9 Feb 2017
Pavel Korobov
Pavel Korobov
If you create unique software products or documents, it is natural to have a wish to control their distribution. There are many tools to protect information from unauthorized actions of unscrupulous users. One of them is the periodic license confirmation.

Copy Protection for HTML Documents

23 Jan 2017
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
HTML is the standard markup language for creating web pages and web applications to be viewed via a browser. Usually HTML is used for internet sites, but some HTML applications such as interactive multimedia books, manuals, education materials, can work offline – people save them on the computer and use them without the internet. Of course it is possible to use PDF, but HTML is much richer – you can use video, audio, animated pictures, interactive components in JavaScript and many other things in one user interface.

New Year is a New Story

28 Dec 2016
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
New Year is not just a night after which we hang a new calendar on the wall. It’s time to take stock and set new tasks.

How to prevent others from copying and editing your documents

20 Dec 2016
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova

Protection is most often necessary for professional documents. For example analytical agencies, design offices and other companies offering intellectual and creative products as a rule give the customers their documents in a protected format to prevent unauthorized use and sharing. For businesses it is also important to provide protection against document forgery, certain documents need to stay unchanged forever. 

However, protection against copying and editing can also be useful for personal purposes, for example, when you wrote a book, prepared a unique learning course, or if you provide consulting services. It means that such functionality can be useful to anyone who develops any intellectual products and wants to control their distribution.

8 Reasons Why StarForce Reader Better Than Adobe Acrobat Reader

26 Oct 2016
Pavel Korobov
Pavel Korobov
PDF is one of the most popular formats for electronic documents. The only drawback is that you need to install additional software to read documents. So what is the program can deal with it in the best way?

Remote Banking Will Add $3.7 Trillion to the GDP of Emerging Economies

27 Sep 2016
Svetozar Yakhontov
Svetozar Yakhontov
According to McKinsey Global Institute report 2 billion individuals and 200 million micro, small, and midsize businesses in emerging economies today lack access to savings and credit. Remote banking could increase the GDPs of all emerging economies by 6 percent, or a total of $3.7 trillion, by 2025. This growth includes benefits from the use of digital finance instead of traditional, and investments in business development in this area that in its turn will create up to 95 million new jobs across all sectors of the economy.  

How to Protect Corporate and Private Bulk Emails

22 Sep 2016
Pavel Korobov
Pavel Korobov
Do you want to protect emailings intended for a limited number of recipients from being forwarded to  third parties and monitor & control the number of times the mails are opened?

Protection of corporate documents outside the perimeter of the enterprise information system

25 Jul 2016
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
Every company has a range of tasks connected with protection of electronic documents from leakage and unauthorized use. And now BYOD became a serious threat because it blurs the perimeter of the enterprise information system. A company can forbid using mobile devices but it entails slowing business processes in the short term and loss of income in the long term. There is also a necessity to share different documents with people outside the perimeter, e.g. auditors, stakeholders, partners, consultants. Is there a possibility to continue to control documents which have left the company’s border?

StarForce on Guard of Games!

29 Jun 2016
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
StarForce became famous thanks to reliable game protection against piracy. And for today publishers and developers of games are our main clients. Some statistics for you: last month we had about 50000 activations all over the world and 87% of it is related with games.

Piracy in Science World

19 May 2016
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
Recently I hit on the article “Who's downloading pirated papers? Everyone” published in Science Journal. The author reveals the story of Sci-Hub, a pirate website where everyone could find and download articles from leading science journals.

DRM for Android apps licensing and copy protection

30 Mar 2016
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
Google Play, the largest store of Android apps, provides authorization, storefront, billing system and file delivery. When a user buys an app, he or she gets a standard file without personalization or binding to the device. Thus, if the developer had ignored the question of licensing and protection, the APK file downloaded from Google Play can be copied to different devices without restrictions and subsequently propagate freely.

This problem is also painful for the corporate segment. The popularity of the BYOD approach made corporate developers create special versions of their solutions for mobile devices, e.g. CRM or ERP. These applications as a rule are free for downloading but developers want to control the code integrity and usage of the license with the help of reliable tools, e.g. a DRM system.

Game Protection on Steam: Steam’s Own Methods and 3rd Party DRM

1 Feb 2016
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
In 2008 at the Valve's summit on the state of PC gaming in Seattle, president Gabe Newell revealed that his company is not concerned about the threat of piracy in the PC market, including in territories like China and Russia. He said that Valve's Steam distribution platform and the service it provides its customers protects it from privacy. In addition, gamers are interested in an ongoing relationship with Steam and if they are caught pirating, they risk losing all their purchased games as well as the possibility to participate in multiplayer games.

Legend 3. The Light side

21 Dec 2015
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
The question about the need for protection is always open. There are publishers who think that protection can have a negative effect on the user experience and that gamers might be put off a game because of it. Potentially that might be fatal at current levels of competition. Development of platforms like Steam also points to the possibility that publishers don’t need additional protection. But it is still here. StarForce protection is part of many modern games and a typical user will never know about it. The protection has become silent and invisible.

Half of a Legend. About cat lovers

14 Dec 2015
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
The developers of StarForce protection system despite their hardcore reputation are also have some very good human characteristics. Especially when the talk is about cats. Or kittens. Or kittens in trouble. You may say please get to the point and so I will.

Legend 2. The First Hack or How we grew staff numbers

7 Dec 2015
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
You may question if it is a good thing to write about a hacking incident because it could harm the company’s reputation. Of course hacking is a bad thing. But it is not always that bad. There are white hat hackers who find vulnerabilities to improve a security system and may be… to find a new job.

Legend 1. May the Force be with you

30 Nov 2015
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
Only a person who is really light years distant from ‘a galaxy far, far away’ fails to see an association between StarForce and Star Wars. The first episode of the Star Wars saga was released in 1999 and that was just when our protection system was being created with an intensive software effort. According to the memoirs of contemporaries the release of the film was a big event for all who felt they could be intimate with Luke Skywalker on Fridays and Darth Vader on Mondays. We felt it too and there was а ‘Star Wars’ poster on the wall of the room where the intensive system design was progressing and this poster gave us a special atmosphere.

Learning Never Stops

1 Sep 2015
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
Though school years are far away the process of studying never ends: today it is a new gadget, tomorrow we will study how to cook a new dish, the day after tomorrow it will be a new application and who knows what else? As well we need constantly to improve our professional skills to raise our market price as an employee. That is why we study foreign languages, digital marketing and get MBA.

How to open SFPDF files?

14 Jul 2015
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
Files with .SFPDF extension can be opened with a special viewer program - StarForce Reader. Actually the name of the expansion comes from the words StarForce and PDF: SF + PDF.

Licensing And Protection For Business Software

29 Apr 2015
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
Today let’s talk about protection for cloud services and business applications. You can ask: “Do they really need it? There is no piracy threat for them”. But it’s not so easy. Even if your customers are large well-known companies it doesn't mean that they refuse to consume more service than what they have purchased. For example why not to increase a number of connected workstations or to install your program in a new office without paying a penny? And what is worse they can rework the product according to their needs without saying a word. We can see a lot of examples of this kind now when we live in economic mode.

Enigma, Lorenz and Modern Ways to Send Secret Messages

9 Apr 2015
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
The idea of information protection is actual at all times. And it is often necessary to protect not only a document that is kept in a safe or on secured server but as well a message that leaves the confines of the company. For example it can be an email after important business meeting where you have discussed secret conditions and technological processes. How did people exchange secret messages during the World War II and how can it be done now?

Moving From Corporate Gmail

Moving From Corporate Gmail
17 Feb 2015
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
Late last year it was reported that China blocked access to Gmail email service. The political situation in the world is becoming more intense. So users from different counties should have a fallback position to provide availability of their communication channels. Speaking about Google's mailer many people use this service not only as an alternative personal mailbox, but as a true corporate service that serves the real economy, including companies selling equipment for the oil industry and other strategic industries.

Now we are not going to discuss reasons for selecting Gmail as a corporate standard. Usually they explain it because of lack of resources and qualified staff. However let’s imagine that you urgently need to move from Gmail. What should you think of?

How to Keep Security of Personal Data

4 Feb 2015
Pavel Korobov
Pavel Korobov
Personal data has exceptional value for hackers. In 2014, hackers discredited information of user accounts of many major services, as Sony PlayStation Network, Gmail.com, Mail.ru, Yandex.ru, Xbox Live, HTC, McDonalds, AT&T, China Railways and many others. Today we want to talk about how to keep security of personal information in cyberspace.

Many of today's security systems are based on the protection of personal information of users, so data leakage can potentially weaken the level of security for not only a specific individual user or site, but the Internet in general.

Each violation of security leads to leakage of personally identifiable information and has a cumulative effect. The Internet stores a huge set of personal data that hackers can steal and form with it the full profiles for each user in the Internet. Cyber thieves can get access to a personal account on websites or bank accounts with just a few parts of stolen personal data.

How to protect valuable information: customer bases, price lists, etc. against leakage

15 Jan 2015
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
Every company owns sensitive information that needs to be protected. First of all it is a client base but also there are know-hows, credentials, personal information and other documents the leakage of which could cause a lot of troubles for business owners. How do companies cope with this?

History knows many facts when a unique technology died together with the last person who knew the production secret: Damascus steel, Greek fire. The reasons for this could be different but the main one is the absence of wish to document the production process on paper because of fear to lose the secret. To describe the production process in details and arrange employee training is crucial now. So it is necessary to find some other way to protect information instead keeping it in top secret.

CyberVor Possesses One-Sixth of the World’s Internet User Data

31 Oct 2014
Pavel Korobov
Pavel Korobov
Cybercrime is a large and profitable business. According to the report published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and McAfee in June 2014, the annual economic cost of cybercrime is $475 billion and growing. The growth must be connected the increasing productivity of cybercriminals.

Now let’s talk about the asset of this business. In August there was information that CyberVor had created a database of 4.5 billion stolen Internet credentials. For now it is the largest base of this kind. It includes 1.2 billion login and password combinations and more than 542 million e-mail addresses.

What do you think about these figures? It turned out that that the stolen Internet credentials are one-sixth of the world’s Internet credentials. But the most interesting part is how CyberVor could obtain this data and what it means for global cyber security.

Useful E-mail Services for SMBs

9 Oct 2014
Natalia Yashenkova
Natalia Yashenkova
In this article we will talk about tools (services), which for free or at minimal cost can solve any company's problems with sending messages by email, including making mass mailing, opening tracking and protection of confidential documents.

Email allows you to send and receive messages and attachments instantly. This type of communication has become fundamental in the business world, thanks to the speed of delivery on the one hand and an opportunity to study the contents and prepare an answer carefully on the other.

Outgoing messages can be divided into two groups: the first group includes emails that require an answer and the second group consists of informational messages (sometimes marked as For Your Information, FYI), that do not need to be answered. Even small sized companies prepare informational mailings with different content from time to time. It can be company news, partner digest, notifications for personnel, etc.