Can’t Stop the Pirates

Constantly keeping things secure and protected is a tough job. Security applications and the like need continuous advancements as exploits are also regularly in order to thwart the efforts of security professionals.  I decided to look into the what sort of piracy protection Microsoft uses for its video game consoles and the games themselves, as Microsoft being as big as it is should have decent security. I found that, of course, they have both physical and software based protection.  One of the main sources that Microsoft draws its protection from is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  The basic guidelines to the act are as follows:

·         Makes it a crime to circumvent anti-piracy measures built into most commercial software.

·         Outlaws the manufacture, sale, or distribution of code-cracking devices used to illegally copy software.

·         Does permit the cracking of copyright protection devices, however, to conduct encryption research, assess product interoperability, and test computer security systems.

·         Provides exemptions from anti-circumvention provisions for nonprofit libraries, archives, and educational institutions under certain circumstances.

·         In general, limits Internet service providers from copyright infringement liability for simply transmitting information over the Internet.

·         Service providers, however, are expected to remove material from users’ web sites that appears to constitute copyright infringement.

·         Limits liability of nonprofit institutions of higher education — when they serve as online service providers and under certain circumstances — for copyright infringement by faculty members or graduate students.

·         Requires that “webcasters” pay licensing fees to record companies.

·         Requires that the Register of Copyrights, after consultation with relevant parties, submit to Congress recommendations regarding how to promote distance education through digital technologies while “maintaining an appropriate balance between the rights of copyright owners and the needs of users.”

·         States explicitly that “[n]othing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use… (1)”

Microsoft also has anti-piracy software in place.  One example of this is, Anti-Piracy 2.5 or AP25. “Anti-Piracy version 2.5 is the newest addition by Microsoft to detect custom DVD Drive firmware and is included in the new Kinect dashboard. This check has been included for some time but hasn’t been activated until Kinect. This authentication blocks backups from being loaded. (2)”

More and more improvements in security are needed constantly as people continue to find and create work-arounds to new defenses, even the protections that microsoft has in place have yet to and most likely will never put a stop to “pirates”.  This is why security professionals in this day and age and for a long time coming will always be in demand and  will always have their hands full.

Sources: (1) (2)