Talks and Poster Presentations (with Proceedings-Entry):
M. Kammerstetter, Ch. Platzer, G. Wondracek:
"Vanity, Cracks and Malware: Insights into the Anti-Copy Protection Ecosystem";
Talk: 19th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS 2012,
Raleigh, NC, USA;
- 2012-10-18; in: "Proceedings of The 19th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS 2012",
Paper ID 809-820,
Today, a large amount of software products include mechanisms to counter software piracy. However, most protection mechanisms can be easily circumvented by applying software patches (cracks) or license key generators (keygens) with seemingly no financial incentives. Our research shows that the distribution of cracks and keygens not only allows miscreants to generate revenue (e.g. through advertising or malware infections), but it also leads to high risks for the end-users of pirated software. We collected more than 43,900 download links and analyzed more than 23,100 (3,551 unique) real-world cracks, showing that these tools are heavily used by criminals to spread malware. Our results indicate that even state of the art virus scanners can not fully protect users from these threats. Moreover, we conducted a manual analysis, showing how many cracks and keygens actually work and how much effort is necessary to acquire them. In addition, we made our data-set publicly available to the research community.
Piracy, Malware, Internet measurements, Underground economy
Electronic version of the publication:
Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.