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Join Stack Overflow to learn, share knowledge, and build your career. There are a lot of questions relating to license keys asked on Stack Overflow. But they don't answer this question. Can anyone provide a simple license key algorithm that is technology independent and doesn't required a diploma in mathematics to understand?
The license key algorithm is similar to public key encryption. I just need something simple that can be implemented in any platform.
So if a person presents a string, a complementary string can be generated that is the authorisation code. Below is a common scenario that it would be used for. Don't be afraid to describe your answer as though you're talking to a 5yr old as I am not a mathematician.
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There is no reliable licensing algorithm. For the most popular, most expensive proprietary software you can buy, you can also find "key generators" and hacked versions that don't require licensing. Instead of worrying about making it "unbreakable", just do something simple.
A popular mechanism is to, at purchase, ask for the user's name, and then give him a license key that's derived from a cryptographic hash e. MD5 sum of the user's name, or some variation on it.
Then, in the software you ask for their name again, plus the registration key that MD5-derived thing ; you check to see that they match, which activates the software. Can this be hacked? Once someone figures out how you're generating the license keys, they can generate their own.
But if you keep a database of the "official" license keys you've generated so far, at least you'll be able to identify the fraudsters later on perhaps when they try to download "premium" content or something. But don't worry so much about stopping the hackers from cracking your code. It's going to happen, but they're such a tiny part of the market that it won't significantly affect your overall sales. In all honesty, what you're trying to do is pointless. Even if you encrypt the final executable.
However, as a delaying measure or a way to decrease the chance of people getting premium support for stolen copies, it will help.
Also for simple tracking of buyers. Anyway, there are a few ways you can handle it. A lot of software uses name and possibly company string s and a hash function to generate a key.
This has the advantage of being constant as long as the name is the same, the hash is, and so the key is. It is also a very simple system, especially if you use a well-known hash such as MD5.
Some fancier apps use an internal function to generate a validation code of some sort, and when you combine that and the given name, you can create and send back a hash.
A few use a system-based code Windows is a good example , where it samples bits of hardware and builds an identifier from that. If you can get ahold of the processor name or speed, or anything else, you can run something like that. The only problem is system changes can render a code invalid, so you can either warn your users and give away part of the process or let them find out accidentally not good. You can use any combination of hash functions, data gets, string inputs, boolean operations, etc.
One thing to consider is you don't need to be able to reverse the process. As long as you can replicate it with the same results any good hash function can , you can check the hashed results against each other and make sure it's valid. The more you put in, the more complicated it'll be, but the harder it'll be to crack.
The answer is that no, there isn't a secure license key algorithm that doesn't require a mathematical diploma to understand. The best license keys are the ones digitally signed with an asymmetric encryption algorithm. You sign the key data with a private encryption key and embed the signature in the key, and the key validation which implies signature verification among other things is done with a public key.
This way, no one can create license keys unless they have access to the private key which is The problem is that there are very few and difficult algorithms which have sufficiently short signature sizes to be embedded in a product key. In matters of security, not reusing a well known and tested algorithm and trying to create your own lacking mathematical knowledge is suicidal. I completely lack the mathematical degree to create such algorithm, and being frank, I don't personally know anyone who has it.
Maybe the checking could become too slow because it has to try every possible key but that could also be a good thing to avoid brute forcing.
Don't take this algorithm too seriously, it's just an example and it can probably be broken very easily as the generation-key has to be included in the client, even though it's hidden in the binary somewhere. License keys are fairly useless in my honest opinion. What's to stop your customer from distributing that key to others? Sure you could setup a license key server that records the number of activations but that costs money and what will happen if it goes down or goes away?
In my professional opinion, create a software that is branded uniquely to a user encrypted inside the program of course. This way if they upload it to a pirate site of some kind, not only will other people know this guys personal information Looking for a license key algorithm [closed] Ask Question.
Answers written as Pseudo code are perfect. Software runs during trial period. At end of trial period an authorisation key is required. Customer goes to designated web-site, enters their code and get authorisation code to enable software, after paying: Troyseph 2, 3 27 I think the key is "and doesn't require a diploma in mathematics to understand and isn't so easy to break it is pointless ", in which case the answer is generally no.
Don't forget to add that it needs to be free, and handed to you on a silver platter. I have done some googling, and haven't succeeded in finding a reasonable algorithm.
Thank you to the anonymous coward who downvoted the question despite 15 upvotes, 14 favourites, and 21 upvotes on the approved answer. I don't mind that the community moderators have flagged the question as off "as off topic" Name and Purchase date are a common combination.
When they renew, you have to generate a new key. You record the plaintext name in a file and the file modify time is also part of the hashed string used to create the license key. Lott Apr 15 '10 at 2: The algorithm would need to also have a way of expiring. Nice idea, but not required for activation in what I am doing.
You don't have to implement expiring. But you do have to provide enough salt that the key can't be guessed. The creation date is a standard kind of salt. Lott Apr 15 '10 at If your license key includes a digital signature, knowing how it's generated doesn't help the keygen writer in the slightest.
They still need to break a digital signature algorithm - an achievement worthy of a scientific publication! I use a system like this: This approach is very similar to what I have been working on. I needed to incorporate a number of elements to make it reproducible and unique to an installation with expiration dates and other information. Hopefully that helps with your question.
It's worth including a secret in the string that is to be hashed. Of course, the secret needs to be included in the software, and can be extracted. XORing it with another string preferably that looks like it's a string used in the software will help disguise it.
Kevin Levrone 31 2. Also, if you search for SoftActivate online, you can find keygen cracks for it. That should tell you how useful it really is.
In matters of security, not reusing a well known and tested algorithm and trying to create your own lacking mathematical knowledge is suicidal Disclosure: I was aksing for a pseudo algorithm I can adapt into a standard programming language and use the concepts on strings. I find it gets "suicidal" if you start tryin to do byte-level translations.
I do have a degree in mathematics with a primary study in Number Theory where a lot of these sorts of algorithms have their roots in and I totally agree.
You know, to avoid doing the thing you are telling him not to do. Since any algorithm you make is going to get broken i would do something simple like this: Thanks, I had looked into SHA-1 and found it was a significant performance hit, md5 is an option. I have been researching classes written in pure J2SE.
They're not as secure, but the performance improvement is significant. How may keys do you need to generate per second? For the user entering the key it's a one time or once per load event.
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We constantly seek ever more effective ways of doing this using the latest technology and skill sets. Is it a registry key, a version of a specific file if so, which one , etc? October 18, at 6: To change shortcut keys, click Options on the Tools menu, then choose Keyboard under the Environment folder. I believe that the "Minimum Runtime" and "Additional Runtime" are only installed by Visual Studio and aren't licensed for redistribution, so you shouldn't need to worry about detecting those packages. March 5, at October 2, at 6:
Cpp product key finder
I have done some googling, and haven't succeeded in finding a reasonable algorithm. What's to stop your customer from distributing that key to others? May 9, at 3: That means that the product code is the same as the original product, and that also means that you cannot use only the product code to determine whether or not an update is installed. If your vendor cannot solve your problem, then you should go to Microsoft support and ask them for Windows 8 replacement product key. This way, no one can create license keys unless they have access to the private key which is Our flexible products are driven by real consumer needs and innovative technology to give your customers; Confidence to Connect, by freeing them and their businesses from online dangers.
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October 18, at 6: You shouldn't need to know the exact location of the files — applications will find them in their installed locations if they need them. In C , for example, overridable functions typically appear as protected virtual functions. Please select all that apply: During encryption, the plain text was a concatenation of three strings: The post is on CodeGuru http: Note that the values span byte boundaries for demonstration purposes. If you stopped working or received lower earnings to raise your children, you may be able to use the "child-rearing provision" to increase your CPP benefits. Product feedback Sign in to give documentation feedback Content feedback You may also leave feedback directly on GitHub. PutMessageEnd iv, ivlen ; std::