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Protection methods against screen grabbing

Pavel Korobov
Pavel Korobov
21 Dec 2017

One of the key functions of the SFContent.com security system is the protection against screen capturing by software methods (by Print Screen function or specialized software capable to provide screen copying).

Depending on the operating system, the service uses several ways to combat the screen grabbing and video recording for the users' convenience and to increase the level of security.


Windows

Process blocking


This protection method works the following way - when you launch a document or a video file protected with SFContent.com, the application prevents you from viewing content until the program that is capable of taking a picture / video form the screen or having the "share screen" function will be closed.

If the process prohibited by the protection system is running, you will see the warning window.

To successfully open protected content, you should close the process that the program asks and launch the file again.

The process blocking system can be disabled by the publisher. The files will remain protected anyway with the Black Box technology that allows you to provide reliable protection from the video screen grabbing and making screenshots in a different way.


The Black Box technology


Within the protection system against screen capturing, this technology is a constant and cannot be disabled in the serial number settings.

The essence of the Black Box is that this option does not prohibit the user from making screenshots or showing the screen to other users using special applications (for example, TeamViewer, Skype, etc.). Instead of the window with protected materials on the resulting screenshot, you will see only a black rectangle. During the screen sharing the protection technology works the same for another user that watches your screen remotely. The original document or video can be viewed only on the device where the serial number has been activated.

For a user with an activated serial number Screenshot / Share screen

All the details of the operation of the both protection systems against programs that can make pictures and videos from the screen, you can also learn by watching the following video.




Controlling the protection against screenshots


We recommend you to use both screen protection systems to enhance the tamper resistance. However, there are different situations when you need to adapt the solution to the requirements of end users. If your client needs to work with a particular program that the protection system asks to close to open a protected file you as a publisher can turn off the blocking of applications in the serial number settings in your workspace on www.sfcontent.com. To do this, you need:

  • Determine what serial number needs to be edited to disable the process blocking.
  • Sign in to the personal account on SFContent.com and select the right workspace where the serial number was initially generated.
  • Select the menu item "Reports and Management" and then "Edit serial numbers".
  • At the bottom of the page, find the item "Disable the blocking of applications which can grab the screen" and activate it.
  • Save the new set of parameters.

After the actions are taken, the end user needs to activate the protected product once again with the same serial number so that all the changes come into effect.

It's not easy to disable the Black Box technology. This type of protection is always active by default, but at the request of the publisher it can be deactivated within the individual StarForce Reader assembly for a fee.


macOS

Protection against making screenshots


Devices running macOS have protection against screen grabbing too. After each attempt to do this with an open protected document, instead of an image with a screen copy and an app window, the user will receive an object filled with a solid gray color.




Protection against screenshots on mobile platforms

Protection against making screenshots at the operating system level for Android


Protection from copying the screen occurs at the level of the operating system. The StarForce Reader app does not allow to take a copy of the document with the built-in OS tool and warns users about this with the special pop-up window with the message.



This applies to all files (protected and usual) that are opened by the application.

There are cases when users of mobile devices use custom (unofficial) firmware, in the system of which unauthorized changes were made and the option for prohibiting the copying of the screen was disabled. Therefore, we have developed an automatic system for blocking the serial number in case the user takes actions prohibited by the security policy.


Serial number auto-blocking on Android and iOS



This method is especially useful for those publishers whose users are dishonest about the prescribed rules for using the application.

The protection system allows to make a screen copy from a smartphone or tablet twice with a warning notification and after it blocks the serial number. Access to the protected document is closed for 24 hours.

To work with this file again, the user must wait until the end of the blocking period and reactivate the access to the document.


Watermarks


In addition to proactive protection methods described above, SFContent.com has a built-in ability to set watermarks: a serial number or a user-defined text. The watermarks’ display options are set during the protection procedure. You can set the font and color of the caption, and adjust the transparency. The marks are displayed at random positions on the screen to complicate their tracking for video files.

Our company is constantly engaged in efforts to improve protection against screenshots and video grabbing, as it allows us to guarantee our clients the safety of files, in which professionalism and a large amount of work were involved. We are interacting with our audience all the time to find the most convenient and effective ways to prevent incidents with the video recording from the screen and will be glad to your ideas and proposals.


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