Product Activation reaches beyond Product Keys by more reliably preventing an end-user from sharing his or her legitimately acquired (Personal) Product Key not only through psychological means but also through technical means.
Licenturion Product Activation is a drop-in replacement for Product Key schemes providing a higher level of security for offline and online software distribution.
During the "activation process" the end-user accesses the activation homepage for the software product to be activated via a conventional web-browser, enters his or her Product Key together with information representing the computer that the software product has been installed on (Hardware ID), receives an Activation Code individually tailored to this computer from the web-server, and supplies the Activation Code to the protected software product in lieu of the Product Key.
In the context of Product Activation Product Keys are also known as Serial Numbers.
If the Product Key entered by the end-user on the activation homepage has already been associated with another sufficiently different Hardware ID, i.e. if the corresponding authorized copy of the software product has already been activated for another computer, the server refuses to supply an Activation Code. Establishing such a robust link between a Product Key and a single computer prevents pirates from sharing their Product Keys, while enabling legitimate end-users to still create backup copies, etc.
Alternatively the process can be fully automated. The end-user then supplies his or her Product Key to the protected piece of software, which then automatically contacts the activation server to obtain an Activation Code on behalf of the end-user.
The Activation Code can be seen as a Product Key whose validity is restricted to a given computer. While it enables an end-user to run the protected software product on the computer identified during the activation process, it is worthless for others trying to use illegitimate copies of the same software product on a different computer.
Licenturion Product Activation also supports multi-user licenses by issuing a corresponding number of Activation Codes, each Activation Code being linked to a different computer.
Asymmetric (Public Key) Cryptography
For a pirate the most elegant way to defeat a conventional Product Activation scheme is to analyze the part of the protected piece of software that ensures that the sequence of letters and digits entered by the end-user constitutes a valid Activation Code. The pirate is then able to determine the properties that a sequence of letters and digits must exhibit in order to be considered a valid Activation Code.
In symmetric implementations of Activation Codes knowledge of these properties always enables a pirate to create matching sequences of letters and digits, i.e. sequences that possess these properties, and thus to create valid Activation Codes himself or herself. Typically, the pirate then casts this knowledge into a small program known as a "key generator" or a "keygen", which he or she distributes via the Internet enabling even novice end-users to illegitimately create valid Activation Codes.
Licenturion Product Activation employs an asymmetric scheme based on public key cryptography and thus offers an exceptional level of security against counterfeit Activation Codes illicitly generated by software pirates.
In contrast to symmetric implementations of Activation Codes even the most sophisticated analysis of the Licenturion Activation Code validation functions thus does not reveal any information that could be leveraged off to illegitimately create valid Activation Codes. Hence, the threat of key generators is reliably eliminated. Although Licenturion Activation Codes apply securely parametrized public key cryptography they consist of only 36 letters.
This compactness is the rocket science part of our solution, as we believe that RSA and Elliptic Curves would not provide a sufficient level of security with Activation Codes that short.
Licenturion Product Activation technology is available as a static library, a dynamic link library (DLL), or a COM component that contain the functionality required to validate Activation Codes.