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What is the binding?

The binding is a method to protect software from copying and illegal distribution. In this method, a link to a physical license carrier (the binding object) is embedded into the file being protected. The binding object usually has unique parameters that are difficult to copy or reproduce, for example, the geometry of the tracks on CD and DVD discs, serial numbers of the computer hardware or of USB drives.

The protected file can only work through a special application or the StarForce driver. They provide connection between the file and the binding object, on the one hand. On the other hand, both of them are securely protected from reverse engineering and modification so as to prevent possible hacking and the separation of the protected file from the binding object.

Binding types

Binding type Binding object

binding to PC
Software and hardware configuration of the end user’s computer.

When the end user runs the protected product for the first time, he/she activates it with the help of a serial number that contains the product license parameters. When the end user runs the product next time, the protection system checks a certain set of the computer parameters. If a lot of the parameters have changed significantly, the product does not run.
Local server

binding to local server
A server in the enterprise network.

The protected application can run from several computers in the local network at the same time. (The license specifies the number of computers.) When each of the application instances runs, it connects to the license control service that is installed on a server in the local network. The service binds to the server on the basis of binding to computer and of activation with a serial number, and monitors the number of connections.
Remote server

binding to remote server
Activation server. The application binds to the end user who is identified by a serial number, rather than to the user’s computer.

The protection system checks the license each time the protected product runs.
USB drive

binding to usb flash
Parameters of the USB flash drive.

The application binds to the USB drive with the help of the license file that is generated during product protection. Each time the protected product runs, it checks if a USB drive with the license file is connected to the computer. If such a drive is detected, the product runs.
Optical disc

binding to CD
Physical parameters of the licensed disc that the software is distributed on. CDs and DVDs are usually made to order.

To run a protected product, the end user needs a unique disc key that the publisher provides. StarForce offers a protection option that allows the publisher to write the disc key into the disc, so that the end user does not need to enter it when he/she runs the product.

For small product batches, the publisher can write the protected files to special StarForce discs.
Account number

binding to MetaTrader account number
User’s account number in MetaTrader.
External binding object

binding to external object
External function specified by the developer.

Products that support several bindings

For publisher’s convenience, some of StarForce products support several binding types at the same time:

Product Supported combined bindings
StarForce ProActive

Protecting software from copying and illegal distribution.
Computer + USB drive
StarForce ProActive for Business

Protecting business applications from copying and illegal distribution.
Computer + Local server +
Remote server + USB drive
StarForce Audio/Video

Protecting audio and video files from illegal distribution.
Computer + USB drive + Disc
StarForce Content

Protecting e-documents from leakage and illegal distribution.
Computer + Disc
StarForce Universal

Protecting software from copying and illegal distribution
Computer + Disc
StarForce ProActive for Traders

Protecting MQL4 and MQL5 MetaTrader scripts from illegal distribution
Computer + Account number

Projects that support combined bindings

Benefits for the publisher

The publisher protects the application once only. (He/she should select combined binding during protection.) The publisher can distribute the product by various means (for example, both on USB drives and through the internet).
For initial binding type (the default binding), the publisher creates the product installer in a standard way (without additional settings).
For each additional binding type, the publisher creates a dedicated installer with the special option that specifies the required binding type.
To change the binding type for the application that is already installed on the end user’s computer, the publisher should create a settings file that contains the required value for the binding, and send the file to the end user. The publisher does not need to re-protect the application.

Benefits for the end user

The end user can run the protected application even if the initial binding object (for example, the optical disc or the USB drive) is damaged.

If the end user cannot run the application with the initial binding type (for example, the optical disc or the USB drive is damaged), the publisher can send the end user the settings file that contains a new value for the binding (for example, for binding to computer). The end user runs this file, and the application works. The end user does not need to re-install the application.

Depending on the new binding type, the publisher should also provide the end user with:

An optical disc with the product installation kit and a disc key (for binding to disc), or
A USB drive with the license file (for binding to USB drive), or
A serial number with the required parameters (for binding to computer, local server or remote server).

Request for protection with combined bindings

Please fill out the form to leave a request for protection of your product with ability of combined bindings.

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