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New Binding Parameters for Better Tamper Resistance

Pavel Korobov
Pavel Korobov
18 Apr 2017

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


Binding is used in a number of StarForce solutions, which are designed to protect products from piracy and illegal copying, whether it's video courses or professional software.




What is "binding" and what is it for?


The technology of data protection, developed by StarForce, allows you to "bind" a protected product to different media, depending on the type of content and distribution ways.


    Personal computer     Binding to the parameters of the user’s computer
  
    Optical disc (CD, DVD)     Binding to the unique physical parameters of a disc
  
    Local server     In order to be launched, a protected product requires a connection to the License Control Service that is installed on the local network
  
    Remote server     A protected application requires a connection to the StarForce License Control Service over the Internet at every launch
  
    USB flash drive     Binding to the parameters of an USB flash drive

This technology does not allow to run a protected product on an unauthorized PC, even if it is completely copied, because at the first launch the security system collects parameters of the computer and transfers it as a hash function to the server. The PC parameters should be relevant to what is stored on the server in order to launch such an application. It goes without saying that a protected product will not work on another computer because its parameters are different from those that were transferred to the server at the activation.


Standard binding parameters to a PC


The main parameters are:

    CPU     Binding to the central processing unit
  
    Windows     Binding to a unique identifier of Windows OS
  
    RAM     Binding to the volume of operative (virtual) memory.
  
       
  
and many others…



These parameters are considered unchanged, their combination is unique, and only when they are in compliance of the data stored on the server, a protected product can be successfully launched. However it doesn’t mean that a user is not able to change anything in his/her computer – a level of binding (how strict the binding is) is set the parameters of a serial number at generation. We also provide deactivation functionality.


New binding parameters


Until recently, the list of parameters described above has been remained unchanged, but with the development of technologies and the continuous updating of the protection system, our engineers managed to expand this list.

We are pleased to introduce two new binding parameters that are designed to provide a higher level of protection against piracy - "Physical MAC address" and "Physical memory".


Physical MAC address


Information about the physical MAC address is taken from the network adapter connected to the computer motherboard. This is an important binding parameter that allows to identify equipment on the network. The advantage of such a binding object is that the security system transmits the MAC address of a particular network device to the server, which increases the convenience for users, reducing the risk of accidental loss of activation when making changes to the network infrastructure.


Physical RAM memory


Another additional binding parameter that allows to increase the tamper resistance for protected products.

RAM (random-access memory) is a form of PC data storage which stores frequently used program instructions to increase the general speed of a system. A RAM device allows data items to be read or written in almost the same amount of time irrespective of the physical location of data inside the memory.

Typically, this parameter is immutable and permanent, so it can be used as another binding tool to improve protection against unauthorized use.

Now, the StarForce protection solution has many parameters for binding to a PC, which allows software developers to implement the anti-piracy system in their products with the maximum level of protection against illegal copying.


StarForce products to provide a PC binding


    StarForce Content     Protection of eDocuments and HTML websites with content.
  
    StarForce Audio/Video     Protection of audio and video files.
  
    StarForce ProActive     Protection of software for business programs, computer games, educational, entertainment and other end user software.
  
    StarForce Universal     Protection of software with both binding objects: to a disc and to a personal computer under one license.

  
    StarForce ProActive for Business     Protection of business applications that are designed to work in either a “thin client-server”/”fat client-server” configuration.

  
    StarForce ProActive for Traders     Protection of MQL4/MQL5 scripts running on the MetaTrader platform.




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