Latest Denuvo Version Cracked Again By One Solo Hacker On A Personal Mission

from the crack-up dept

Denuvo is... look, just go read this trove of backlinks, because I've written far too many of these intros to be able to come up with one that is even remotely original. Rather than plagiarize myself, let me just assume that most of you know that Denuvo is a DRM that was once thought to be invincible but has since been broken in every iteration developed, with cracking times often now down to days and hours rather than weeks or months. Key in this post is that much if not most of the work cracking Denuvo has been done by a single person going by the handle Voksi. Voksi is notable not only for their nearly singlehandedly torpedoing the once-daunting Denuvo DRM, but also for their devotion to the gaming industry and developers that do things the right way, even going so far as to help them succeed.

Well, Voksi is back in the news again, having once again defeated the latest build of Denuvo DRM.

This week, Voksi announced the passing of yet another milestone, one that’s bound to disappoint the people at Denuvo. After sinking endless hours into what he openly admits is a personal grudge against the company’s technology, Voksi revealed that its latest v4.9++ protection had fallen. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Voksi says that after tackling previous versions, a little while back he began dissecting the newer 4.7/4.8 builds (not official Denuvo versions but a numbering system used by the cracking scene).

“Man, it seemed impossible back then. The obfuscation was insane, I had no idea what to do. So, over the next two months, with little breaks from time to time, I was analyzing exactly how [Denuvo] does those hardware checks,” he notes. “Then I tried my tricks for 4.7 on 4.8, but something wasn’t quite right. It was way more obfusticated and had some strange patterns and I couldn’t figure out why it was like that. Soon enough though in June things started to change.”

Now, while we generally dislike DRM here at Techdirt, we're not in the business of cheering on a crack-artist defeating any particular DRM. What is right in our wheelhouse, however, is discussing the overall impact of DRM and its effectiveness. We've spent hundreds of words already pointing out that this is an arms race every DRM maker loses, with Denuvo in particular falling at a rapid pace. With that in mind, we've wondered aloud why game companies even bother with any of this DRM nonsense, when they instead could be connecting with their customers and giving them real reasons to buy with innovative business models and engagement.

But this point must be most evident when it's noted that Voksi, a single individual, has nearly brought Denuvo to its knees as some insane sort of solo project.

What comes next for 21-year-old Voksi remains to be seen but given his determination, other games are probably being worked on right how. He says that several other titles use 4.9 or 4.9++ protection so it’s possible he’ll have more surprises in the days and weeks to come.

“In the end, it might take some more testing and test cracks, but I’m very happy to announce that I won’t stop until we are Denuvo Cancer Free from all games,” he concludes.

Whatever you might think of Voksi as an individual or DRM and game-cracking in general, what should be immediately apparent is that relying on DRM that is vulnerable to one 21 year old with enough motivation to kill it over and over again is a fairly shitty business practice in which to be engaged. And, yet, game companies still work with Denuvo and other DRM makers for reasons I cannot possibly fathom.

When one person negates that work, it's probably time to come up with a new plan.

Filed Under: crack, denuvo, drm, video games, voksi


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  1. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 13 Jul 2018 @ 9:49am

    "Illegal"

    [LongRant]

    I think part of the problem here is reliance on the notion of illegal and unlawful. We're in an age where illegal immigration is common much like speeding on the freeway (and about as severe an infraction), and yet emphasis on the unlawfulness of it has been used to justify locking these people up for years and treating them cruelly and inhumanely, in disproportion by magnitudes to the infractions they've committed.

    This is one example out of dozens, maybe hundreds about how criminality is used to presume amorality, malice or malignancy, and then to justify disproportionate response.

    The US legislature cannot be trusted to make good or fair laws. The Department of Justice cannot be trusted to enforce those laws evenly. In the end, as the Trump administration (and the Trump movement has shown us) crime is something enemies and undesirables do. We give friends mulligans. We pardon our buddies and allies. We use crime to justify using force against people we don't really like anyway. We pirate other people's crap but fire and fury if someone dares use our content without a valid license.

    And this is way before we get into the long long overreach of intellectual property maximalism, where copyrights and patent rights have become extended so far that they only serve to protect and enrich old creators leaving new innovators without material, leaving our public domain stripped and barren. Artificial scarcity and DRM is then used to inflate media prices, so that the majority of the population has to depend on sharing (and sometimes piracy) or go without and be outside the cultural zeitgest. Entire nations are so denied that media piracy is now part of the local culture.

    DRM ultimately is a device to limit action by force. In fact, DRM is commonly used to limit actions that are not illegal but just because the publisher can and wants to, say to limit the number of installations or to mandate registration with private information, or the viewing of unskippable commercial content, or to justify persistent online connections and mandated spyware.

    So the content companies have demonstrated time and again they cannot be trusted with the power of force either, and will abuse it. And their abuse entirely justifies efforts by the public to dismantle DRM mechanisms. This is their own rope by which they're hanging themselves, the cracked product is in fact better than the one included with a purchased license. The companies knowingly make it worse, because they believed they could force antagonistic content on the end-user. You wouldn't download a bear.

    This is why Windows Loader (for XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 10) is not hackware, but rather freeware, constructed by engineers, available throughout Europe, no matter what the EU government says. Microsoft long overstepped their welcome, and hence piracy is as common as speeding. Microsoft dug that grave, and now there's a community of people that, for fun and profit, watchdog Microsoft's mechanizations to see what bullshit they try next.

    Denuvo made a society that hates them and teams to thwart their every turn. That's a monster they entirely helped create.

    [/LongRant]


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