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DRM Games Your Rights Online

Ubisoft's DRM Cracked — For Real This Time 443

Posted by Soulskill
from the see-you-next-scheme dept.
therufus writes "A few days after the release of Assassin's Creed 2, naughty piracy sites were announcing they had cracked Ubisoft's Online Services Platform. Turns out, that wasn't entirely true. While it was possible to load into the game, players were unable to advance past a certain memory block. But now, it seems Ubisoft will need to draft a new response. A new crack has begun circulating that removes the DRM entirely."
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Ubisoft's DRM Cracked — For Real This Time

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  • by illaqueate (416118) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:27AM (#31974748)

    Skidrow put their own copy protection on the crack because they simply placed the values from the emulator into a dll. It's nice and convenient to have a dll return the values instead of a server however if they had actually cracked then they would have also cracked the other games for which the emulator doesn't currently exist.

    So yes, Assassin's Creed 2 is playable but their copy protection is only broken in the sense that AC2 designers decided to make the server-client for this game return static responses that can be collected and eventually make the game playable for pirates.

  • Not so fast (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:32AM (#31974782)

    All Skidrow did was re-package the existing community-developed workaround. [cs.rin.ru]

    The community created a values.db which contains the name/value pairs to defeat Ubi's server checks, and a server emulator, Skidrow's DLL embeds this file and replaces the server-checking with a local access.

    Skidrow then takes full credit for the work (in a total douche move) and they also packed their DLL so no-one would detect their deception.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:41AM (#31974886)
    For the record:

    The actual hard work was done by a community of people who bought the game. They ran a proxy that logged all the "values" sent from the Ubisoft servers to the game. Each time the game progresses to another mission (or similar), it requires a different set of "values" to determine what game data to load (or a very similar method). The people who logged these values then submitted them to a community database, which collected them and sorted out any fake ones uploaded by Ubisoft employees or griefers.

    This community also made a server emulator, which served the "values" to the game upon request. The server emulator, written in python, was a pretty simple HTTP server; the game connected to it by editing the system's "hosts" file and hardcoding DNS responses for ".ubisoft.com" to localhost (where the server emulator runs).

    Thus, the game is only crackable once enough people have bought the game and logged all possible values for all possible missions states. It's not a total loss for Ubisoft in a sense -- it prevents "Pre" releases, wherein a release group distributes the game before the actual release date. It also ensures that a certain number of people must buy the game and contribute "values" to the community database; all in all this ends up lengthening the time from game release to full-working pirate release.

    SkidRow's new crack is simply an IPC (inter-process communication) method of delivering the "values" to the game, bypassing the network connection to the game. Therefore SkidRow's version doesn't use a server emulator running on localhost, but rather patches the executables of the game and has the "values" hardcoded into the cracked DLLs.

    The real issue here is that SkidRow took the "values" database from the community who initially logged them, and pretty much claimed it as their own work. The original cracking community inserted some fake "values" as trackers in order to determine when anyone stole their work and released it.
  • by asCii88 (1017788) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:47AM (#31974946) Homepage
    You might want to post the link [onlive.com]
  • by illaqueate (416118) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:50AM (#31974982)

    The protection for AC2 is tacked on. Settlers 7 received somewhat better protection and there is no working server emulator for it yet. In the future it will be more dynamic and most likely include server side game logic. The significance of it not being truly cracked even with a basic protection as in AC2 is this: every time Ubisoft releases a new game then the pirates must play through the entire game collecting the values which can take a few weeks to get 100% unless the process can somehow be automated. This is over and above any changes to the protocol used to communicate between the client and server between games which the cracker must code for to capture those values.

  • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:54AM (#31975004)
    However, they are the only people who have ever made Assassin's Creed 2.
  • by redcaboodle (622288) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:59AM (#31975068)

    WoW has the assets stored on the client side. The server just controls the mobs and manages the communication between clients.

    For a free WoW server they mostly had to work out the protocols No hacking or cracking of servers was involved.

  • by Derosian (943622) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @12:22PM (#31975288) Homepage Journal
    I really would only call this a success in name. No way to pirate the game should mean they would have a tenfold increase in sales, but they didn't see this. Sales were rather normal for a game of this magnitude, I wonder if this means people who pirate games are unlikely to buy your game anyway.
  • Re:Not so fast (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @12:39PM (#31975500)

    this is a fake, dormine never wrote that

  • by debatem1 (1087307) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @01:03PM (#31975732)

    And this is why we need mandatory economics education for every student.

    Price is not based on "greed", price is based on supply and demand.

    You may wish to avail yourself of that economics course- market forces have no control over initial prices, only what the price will trend towards. Companies could base their initial price on anything at all- greed being a significant factor.

    Companies charge what you are willing to pay, which is influenced by the quality of the product and the price of the alternatives.

    That's why electronic books are not significantly cheaper than paper books. The price of the paper and distribution is only a baseline lowest cost, it has nothing to do with what someone is willing to pay.

    And that would be relevant if they had equivalent sales. As things stand, it actually argues against your point: ebook sales in the US last year come to about $13 million dollars out of a (roughly) $23 billion dollar a year industry, according to the AAP. If the quality of the product and the price of the alternatives are the only driving factors, then I conclude that people are unwilling to pay equal amounts for a product that has no associated baseline costs and a product whose cost is dominated by those factors.

  • Re:Almost 2 months (Score:5, Informative)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @01:21PM (#31975894)

    and from reading the article it looks like the created a testing nightmare..

    The protection was designed to produce effects almost indistinguishable from bugs, so testing was also affected. If any false positives occurred in the protection, they could be reported incorrectly. For this reason a very thorough debugging plan was produced just for the protection. Every location that could trigger protection was listed, along with how long it would take to trigger, what the exact effect would be, and where you had to look to see the effect. Testers had to visit the locations, wait the required amount of time, and then look to see if the protection had been triggered. Having any of the protection give a false positive was obviously our biggest worry. Therefore all the protection was set up on a compile-time switch so that it could be turned off at any time if we weren't absolutely sure that the protection was reliable (and believe me, there were a few moments when it didn't seem to be).

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Sunday April 25, 2010 @02:31PM (#31976514) Homepage Journal

    The delays in Dragon's Lair was for you to have a chance at actually doing the appropriate move at the right moment. Without those delays you'd be fucked.

    I still have the original laserdisc of Dragon's Lair.

  • "Wow does not have assets stored on the client side."

    Gee, I wonder what this shiny fucking WoW disc is for, then?

    Looks like a fair deal of assets are stored client-side to me.

  • by debatem1 (1087307) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @05:51PM (#31978334)

    market forces have no control over initial prices, only what the price will trend towards. Companies could base their initial price on anything at all- greed being a significant factor.

    Uh, who said anything about "initial" prices?

    Ebooks as a mass medium are still clearly in their infancy. The wide range of pricing models, distribution mechanisms, and presentation mediums argues strongly that ebook publishers and retailers have a great deal of uncertainty about what the market will eventually consider a good price for ebooks. Because no such consensus has been reached, I think its fair to call this the initial pricing stage. If you have an alternative terminology I'm open to it.

    That has no relevancy to the current discussion. And even if it did, why don't companies charge $1,000 / game, and be REALLY greedy? By your logic, market forces don't matter and people would just pay it.

    I've just constructed an argument BASED on market forces for why you're wrong. Add a logic- or perhaps reading comprehension- course to the lineup of economics you seem to have missed. Math would probably be helpful as well- with an emphasis on minimization and maximization.

    If the quality of the product and the price of the alternatives are the only driving factors, then I conclude that people are unwilling to pay equal amounts for a product that has no associated baseline costs and a product whose cost is dominated by those factors.

    I didn't say that were the "only" factors. Obviously, they are not the only factors. People (at this point, at least) prefer paper. Paper and electronic formats are in competition with each other, hence the reason one is cheaper than the other, because people don't perceive them as equivalent.

    Either the other factors are substantial or they are not. If they are substantial, then your earlier comparison was invalid and you were threadshitting (again). If they are not substantial, then my argument holds and your assertion about baseline costs was, er, baseless. In either event, you haven't given any evidence to support your highly dubious claim that greed has nothing to do with pricing.

  • Re:Not so fast (Score:3, Informative)

    by X.25 (255792) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:12PM (#31978930)

    The community created a values.db which contains the name/value pairs to defeat Ubi's server checks, and a server emulator, Skidrow's DLL embeds this file and replaces the server-checking with a local access.

    Considering those values are 'static' (which enables crack/emulator to work), what values would you suggest SkidRow to use?

    I have no idea what the story here is, nor do I care, but seemingly server/clients exchange static values, how could their crack use some other values? o.0

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @01:07PM (#31985960)

    And I'm not alone, you should see the in-house mailing list flamewars about this (which also means that other employees are freaking greedy douchebags, it's not just the suits.)

    Please leak them.

    Probably that would get me fired (contrary to the troll-griefer who posted I was going to get fired, I wasn't.) It would make for a helluva fun and interesting, albeit morbid and disturbing, read.
    The discussions are about half and half. Where you have those on the one side passionately defending the DRM and proposing ways to make it even more draconian and consumer unfriendly. Very chilling, it makes one shudder with a mix of fear and disgust. The other side, against the DRM, are a lot less vocal and a lot more diplomatic in their dissension, for fear of losing their job I guess. It's very different than what you see here, where most, if not ALL, are against it, and also go all in and fully support their disapproval.
    Hmm. The angel on my left shoulder is telling me to leak them, and the demon on the left not to. Fascinating!

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