Serial Numbers

Moderator
Posts: 613
Joined: 2004.09
Post: #1
So im looking for a new way to handle serial numbers, I have the esellerate options but i rather stay away from that, I really dislike mainstream methods.

Right now im using a very simple math algorithm that takes my numbers and applies some formulas to them, if the result == 0 then its valid otherwise its not.

I would really like to move to a more secure method (maybe something using letters+numbers instead of just numbers), anyone have any advise going into this that they may have learned from doing it themselves? Articles? Tips?

Thanks as always guys.

Kyle Richter
DragonForged.com
Twitter: @kylerichter
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 110
Joined: 2002.07
Post: #2
"Right now im using a very simple math algorithm that takes my numbers and applies some formulas to them, if the result == 0 then its valid otherwise its not.
"
easy to crack or generrate serial
you should look at ambrosia or Freeverse registering system
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 691
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #3
As far as Ambrosia's serials are concerned, if I remember correctly a blokey at Ambrosia wrote an article on their anti-piracy techniques, and stated that they have some timing data encoded in their serials*, which won't allow you to register a product with that serial after N days – enough time for a legitimate customer, but short enough to make a leaked serial wothless...

(*and apparently the customer's credit card no. in reversable form Blink although this may just be a rumour for discouraging the sharing serials.)

Mark Bishop
Quote this message in a reply
DavidJJ
Unregistered
 
Post: #4
I'm wondering why there is no method of making serial numbers tied to a specific MAC address in a computer? I think this is the way that Alias' Maya registers to your machine. I have been told that within hours of posting the new HTML/CSS editor Goodpages, the author was informed that his program had been cracked. Is there no way to tie a program to a machine? Require online registration that actually modifies the application's code to include the users MAC address?

A non-programmers (possibly stupid) question.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 335
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #5
MAC addresses can be faked too. It also unfortunately ties the game to a single machine for honest users, which isn't generally that great.

Apple use the credit card thing in their Quicktime Pro registrations. Supposedly your credit card info is incorporated into the serial number somehow. Whether it's true or not (Apple claimed it when they first started doing it with QT3) it's a pretty good way of making an honest user worry about sharing his serial code. Unfortunately, once it's past the first user, it doesn't have any effect on the sharers who have no connection with the credit card.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 613
Joined: 2004.09
Post: #6
From my research,
Pangea Uses peoples credit card infomation encoded into their serial numbers
Ambrosia - Uses a serial that expires 30 days from issue date

Any more insight? I really want to fan the heat of this topic. I think it could get interesting =)

Kyle Richter
DragonForged.com
Twitter: @kylerichter
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 129
Joined: 2005.02
Post: #7
I use the honor system Wink HAH.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 370
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #8
Well, given how easy it is to track down serial numbers for many applications, the honor system may not be such a bad idea. I'm sure you can find research to the contrary, however Rasp

It would be interesting to know exactly how well it works.

Did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter when the promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath the clear blue sky?
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 613
Joined: 2004.09
Post: #9
I used donate-ware for a while then switched over to limited use share-ware. There was a TREMEDIOUS increase in sales when i did so. The honor system is a great idea and I would love to do it, I think people that cant afford my software should be able to use it just the same, but there are a lot of people who dont have a legitmate reason to purchase it.

Kyle Richter
DragonForged.com
Twitter: @kylerichter
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 3,570
Joined: 2003.06
Post: #10
Encoding credit card information into a serial number is a bad idea. The number belongs to the credit card company, not the consumer as people seem to presume. You're jacking with the credit card company's security system for use in your own. It could bring on massive litigation if things went bad and exposed their customers to fraud.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 613
Joined: 2004.09
Post: #11
I dont see it as anymore wrong then using your credit card number as a order tracking/identifcation number, which more and more companies are doing. If it is ok with the credit card companies to use your credit card number unchanged as an ID number, why would they complain if you used it modified as a serial number?

Kyle Richter
DragonForged.com
Twitter: @kylerichter
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 691
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #12
@maaaaark: unfortunately I've lost the link to the article, but there's evidence that feature-limited shareware performs considerably better than unlimited use shareware (although the article only considered productivity shareware, not games); here's yet-another-Steve-Pavlina-article on piracy which seems to have the opposite message though – namely, that pirates would never register anyway, no matter the incentive to or the anti-piracy measures taken...

Mark Bishop
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 3,570
Joined: 2003.06
Post: #13
kodex Wrote:I dont see it as anymore wrong then using your credit card number as a order tracking/identifcation number, which more and more companies are doing.
I've never heard of that. Do you have an example?
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 110
Joined: 2002.07
Post: #14
i cant tell you how but i converted 15 pirates to buy my game (should be more)
note: talking about a single game, it was a succeful test on some protection

you pirate becoz you can, if you cant pirate a game there is a chance you go to buy it (if you like it of course).

Please stop thinking about : piracy dont make you loose sales, its totally wrong

now to go back to the subject, the idea of serial with expiration date should be ok, but its always easy to hack.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 156
Joined: 2002.11
Post: #15
Most users are just unconcerned with a serial number being generated from their credit card number. I still think the best way to deal with this situation is to put out a limited demo and then allow only legitimate users to have access to the full-version. Of course, the full-version itself should be able to activate itself (or not) after contacting the server, to prevent it from being passed forward.
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply