Over a decade ago, white-box cryptography was developed to provide a more cost-effective and flexible alternative to hardware security cards used by Cable and Satellite TV companies for secure Conditional Access. Since then, the applications of white-box cryptography have expanded to securing various other technologies, including mWallet and mPOS apps, AI algorithms, and Digital ID applications.
White-box cryptography has traditionally been associated with those uses, protecting either the encryption keys for streaming TV user authentication, or the token exchange required by digital ID solutions. The white-box protects the keys that manage the encryption of data required by the service provider, and the decryption of the user-required data. The white-box library helps to both manage this process and store the keys.
But the potential power of white-box cryptography goes far beyond this narrow use case. While code and data obfuscation is often used to protect other areas of application code, it is not enough to protect important secrets within a compiled application. Obfuscated data is de-obfuscated in memory when it is actually used, which is, of course, where the bad guys attack using off-the-shelf software debugging and other tools. A white-box, on the other hand, is designed to be secure at rest and in use.
Historically, white-boxes were only useful for protecting encryption keys for specific cryptographic algorithms. But if white-box cryptography could be applied to more than just cryptographic algorithms, and implemented in a flexible way that managed code-bloat and performance issues, it could become a powerful tool for for software developers and DevSecOps teams to protect companies' intellectual property and customers' critical information. Unfortunately, no such white-box existed, until now.
PACE Anti-Piracy recognized the potential of white-box cryptography early on, and adopted white-boxes extensively to secure our licensing platform. However, early whiteboxes were extremely limited and cumbersome, leading PACE to develop an entirely new white-box technology that we now use to secure a wide range of code at rest and in use. To help explain this new technology, we refer to white-box technologies by generation.
First-generation white-box libraries were pre-built to specific developer specifications, with a single or very limited choice of cryptographic algorithms. Any changes or updates were provided as a chargeable service, subject to vendor workload.
Second-generation on-premises toolkits allowed developers to build white-boxes on-demand, with improvements in cost and speed of updates or changes. However, they still supported limited cryptographic algorithms without a custom implementation and associated NRE costs.
PACE envisioned a new, third generation: an on-premises toolkit with the ability to protect any algorithm and/or secret and the flexibility to let developers white-box any C code, creating unique new security techniques and capabilities at need.
Developers can now build white-boxes on demand, securing their mission-critical intellectual property
Our vision has now become a reality with White-Box Works, an on-premises toolkit that can transform any code expressed in C into a secure white-box variant. Developers can now build white-boxes on demand, securing their mission-critical intellectual property at multiple locations throughout the application’s architecture and providing a new level of security that was previously unavailable. With White-Box Works, PACE has pioneered a new approach to white-box cryptography that has the potential to revolutionize how companies protect their valuable information.
At PACE, we eat our own dogfood. We protect the code within our licensing solution with White-Box Works, adding to the security already provided by our well-established “Web of Trust” PKI infrastructure. This has allowed us to deploy tens of thousands of white-boxes across thousands of protected applications, which would have been impractical using any legacy first-generation white-box, and challenging even for second-generation solutions. Having overcome these challenges, we can present White-Box Works as the only third-generation solution.
The same challenges that PACE faced in successfully protecting our own license management solutions also feature strongly in a number of use-cases where white-box cryptography is recommended, or is even part of regulatory specifications.
White-Box Works goes even further than simply delivering the required protection.
PACE customers in mobile payments and financial services can rely on the flexibility and 3rd-party-tested security capabilities of White-Box Works to protect their applications, particularly in the fast-growing mobile point of sales market. In this sector, regulators such as PCI and EMVCo mandate the use of white-box technology to safeguard consumers' personally identifiable information and prevent fraudulent attacks. But White-Box Works goes even further than simply delivering the required protection of cryptographic functions, to secure other secrets including access to APIs and other sensitive code running on inherently insecure COTS mobile devices.
Digital ID solutions require secure cryptography to authenticate and exchange credentials, as well as managing other vital “secrets” in order to deliver a trusted service to their users - the end user citizen, the issuing authority, and the service provider. This use-case is similar to mobile payments in that it poses a significant challenge for open mobile consumer devices that lack traditional hardware security. The only control the service provider has over the security of the solution is the exchange of various secrets within the software application, which has to be supplied via an open-to-all app store where bad actors can also download the apps in order to analyze and develop attacks.
White-Box Works offers unparalleled software-based security that not only protects critical cryptography, but can also protect other secrets within the application, secure the communications to the cloud, and even protect cloud end-points.
In the market for DRM and conditional access, where the principles of white-box cryptography were originally created, first-generation white-box is well understood, but these early solutions are restrictive and come with significant "white-box taxes" for developers when a third party is paid to deliver secured white-box libraries. Licensors often require white-box technology as part of their contract with the software developers, and quite reasonably expect that the developers’ cryptographic software will protect their IP. But how can any developer feel in control of their product, with a legally binding agreement with their customer behind it, if they don’t know what is in the third-party library, how that fits into their supply chain processes, how quickly they can change keys, or what it might cost to do so?
Development teams are no longer stuck between contractual obligations to their customers and the limitations of first-generation solutions.
With White-Box Works, development teams are no longer stuck between contractual obligations to their customers and the limitations of first-generation solutions. With White-Box Works’ modern, third-generation approach, developers can build white-box code at will to protect more than just crypto keys, creating complex architectures using multiple white-boxes and ensuring maximum software security for their licensors.
PACE also deploys secured code in the cloud to protect our own services. After all, who truly trusts someone else's computer? No matter who the public cloud solution provider is, there have been breaches. It’s human nature for errors to creep in, and cloud instances are no more inherently secure than any other platform, especially where multiple tenancy is the norm. Some encryption may be used to protect communication between applications, data sources and the outside world, but the encrypt/decrypt cycles between these apps, APIs, or external end-points are vulnerable to attacks if the encryption key is easily determined by statistical analysis. This can potentially open up the entire network, leaving your sensitive data and services vulnerable to hackers.
White-Box Works adds an extra layer of security to cloud solutions and protects sensitive data and services
By using White-Box Works to secure the code in the cloud, development teams can significantly enhance their protection against such attacks. PACE’s new approach to "white-boxing" the code makes it much more difficult to reverse engineer or tamper with, and the ability to generate new white-boxes on demand is especially crucial in a cloud environment where creative developers and architects may need to modify the code and to cope with new use-cases, especially as artificial intelligence and machine learning grow in use. White-Box Works adds an extra layer of security to cloud solutions and protects sensitive data and services from potential breaches.
In the last decade, white-box cryptography has evolved from simply being a flexible alternative to hardware security cards, to secure other technologies including software applications. PACE has overcome the limitations of first and second-generation white-box technologies to secure our own products and services, and now leverages that development to bring a third-generation solution to market in White-Box Works, an on-premises toolkit that can transform any C code into a secure white-box variant on demand, providing a whole new level of security that was previously unavailable. With use cases in mobile financial services, digital ID, DRM, cloud solutions, and more, we offer unparalleled software-based security to protect much more than a single cryptographic algorithm from the most current cryptographic attacks such as Side Channel and Statistical Analysis.
For more on how PACE Anti-Piracy can support your licensing and application security needs, contact us.
PACE Licensing and Security Supports MATLAB Projects
An increasing number of universities are designing graduate programs centered around entrepreneurship in addition to publishing their work. This bridge from academia to industry is particularly interesting to PACE Anti-Piracy because PACE has worked with companies in transitioning software to commercial products for nearly four decades. With extensive industry knowledge, PACE brings engineering support and solutions to help companies such as Laser Thermal license their software and protect their IP before they sell it.
Who is Laser Thermal?
Laser Thermal provides accessible thermal measurements of materials, focusing on thin-film thermal conductivity. Using optical technologies, they provide simple, accurate, and rapid measurements of thermal properties, leading to increased customer knowledge of material properties.
Making Measurements Easier
Laser Thermal’s flagship product, Steady-State Thermoreflectance in Fiber Optics (SSTR-F), offers customers in industry and academia a reliable way to measure thermal properties of materials. The measurement technique uses two lasers: a pump laser that locally heats a sample, and a probe laser that measures the temperature rise at the same location. By understanding the temperature rise, they can determine the thermal properties of multi-layer systems at the nanometer scale. The ability to focus lasers down to small spots allows for high spatial resolution.
SSTR-F offers accurate and repeatable thermal conductivity measurements and thermal resistance measurements for a range of materials and thin films. It offers an automated, non-contact approach to measuring thin films–a solution which revolutionizes the speed and accuracy of measuring thermal properties. This offers a new capability for metrology of thermal properties, particularly to customers in the semiconductor industry.
Hardware Needs Software
The SSTR-F hardware is paired with software developed in-house by Laser Thermal. It was originally developed in LabView, and later converted to MATLAB for computational efficiency. On the interplay between hardware and software, Vice President of Product Development, Dr. Hans Olson, explains that, "With SSTR-F, we acquire data with hardware components driven by the overarching software protocols. After that data is acquired, there's another whole piece of software that takes those data inputs and analyzes them to produce results."
In order to protect the software parts of their product, the team at Laser Thermal looked to licensing to prevent future piracy.
High-Value Software Needs Licensing
Laser Thermal evaluated several different licensing solutions prior to having an introductory call with the PACE Engineering team. “When we learned about the extra security capabilities that PACE had to offer, it gave us all the more reason to choose PACE’s Licensing Platform,” explains Dr. Olson. When asked why the alternatives weren’t a good fit, Hans responded “The alternative solution seemed promising at first, but ultimately PACE’s experience and reliability won our team over.”
Importance of Security
When asked what role the added security features played in Laser Thermal choosing PACE, Hans replied, “We would like to think that what we are doing is complicated to the point that it would take another organization an appreciable amount of time to catch up. To perform the necessary R&D, understand what fiber components to put together, how to facilitate the delivery, the analysis for the solution of a heat diffusion equation, and to combine all of the math–it would take a long time to figure out, unless someone had access to our code.”
Monetizing MATLAB Projects
PACE Anti-Piracy brings nearly 40 years of experience to the software licensing and application protection space. While PACE has been working for years with software companies that leverage MATLAB, in 2022, PACE became the first licensing platform to enter the MathWorks Connections Program and offer an out-of-the-box solution to software developers that use MATLAB.
When Dr. Olson sought out a solution for the company’s MATLAB project, experience and level of protection were the defining factors. “We worked really hard for this product. I wasn’t going to take a risk.”
Read more about how Laser Thermal is disrupting the Test and Measurement Industry.
For more on how PACE Anti-Piracy can support your licensing and application security needs, contact us.
Earlier this month, Apple and Microsoft disclosed independent vulnerabilities in their digital signature infrastructure, affecting a huge range of operating systems.
In Apple's case, it was possible to create a fake signature and get macOS to trust it. (Details) This is like a fake ID that fools the bartender into selling alcohol to a teenager.
In Microsoft's case, it was possible to create fake signatures that looked like they were from a trusted entity. (Details) This is like being able to print your own ID cards, as if you were some authority.
Digital signatures are like driver's licenses (or other ID cards, around the world), but for software. They say, with authority, who the holder is. They are used to convey trust: if I know who you are, I know what you should be allowed to do, and I can have reasonable trust in how you'll behave.
So too with apps.
All modern apps come with digital signatures, like ID cards, saying who they are. But a digital signature, unlike an ID card, can instantly be checked to see if it's valid. It doesn't just have to look authentic - you can actually check that it really is authentic, and who the publisher really is - through standard cryptographic techniques based on “public key infrastructure (PKI)”.
This idea underpins most consumer apps used today. Apps in the iOS App Store have always required digital signatures. So too with Android. macOS and Windows have been ratcheting up digital signature requirements for more than a decade, and now signatures are effectively a requirement to deliver software to macOS, while on Windows they are required for a good user experience.
Digital signatures are also used by software publishers to establish their own trust systems. One common example is products that load content or have plugins, and need to verify that the content or plugins are authentic. Digital signatures are exactly the right tool for this job.
Both of these bugs have the same basic consequence: until they were fixed, digital signatures weren't really the strong guarantee of identity that we thought they were. Or in the Microsoft case, there might be fake digital signatures in the wild that can never be proven inauthentic.
Those apps you installed, from trusted publishers, might not have been from those publishers at all.
This highlights one of the problems with digital signatures: they're a single source of trust. If you base all your trust on one system, then when that system is broken, you have no trust left. As happened last week, with Apple and Microsoft.
But PACE customers are still protected, even now that these vulnerabilities are well known. Our licensing and content protection platforms use our own digital signature infrastructure - on top of the OS signature infrastructure - to verify the authenticity of plugins and content. We use a completely separate set of certificate authorities (but the same proven cryptography!) to provide a second layer of trust above and beyond the standard operating system signature checking.
Our signatures weren't broken by these vulnerabilities, and the software publishers who rely on PACE digital signatures can continue to trust the content and plugins they load into their products.
PACE customers also enjoy features that don't come with operating system digital signatures, like explicit identification of the product (not just the publisher), and connections between licensing and digital signatures that enable features like encrypting content that can only be decrypted by authorized products.
If you have a software product or content that would benefit from stronger authenticity guarantees, or from high-security licensing and distribution, we encourage you to contact us at to learn more about how PACE can help you protect your work.
Solid State Logic (SSL) is a world leading manufacturer of advanced audio production systems for studio, live sound and broadcast. With more than 3000 SSL-equipped facilities operational today, SSL consoles and recording studio hardware and software are universally recognised for their reliability and outstanding sound quality.
Founded in 1969, SSL has seen an interesting evolution in its product offering . The name “Solid State Logic” was originally derived from their first product - a switching system for pipe organs. 7 years later, the product line expanded to include the first A-series console in 1976, and a big breakthrough with the SL 4000 E Series in 1979. Variants of this console followed, transforming the way music was recorded, and creating an international gold standard in music engineering hardware.
1985 marked the beginning of an era of digital research and development, leading to the development of the 01 - an eight channel recorder/editor. Three decades of continuous innovation landed Solid State Logic not only as a leader in recording hardware, but also professional studio software - both analogue and digital.
Although SSL is most famous for its rich legacy in analogue studio hardware, the company also has extensive experience in digital audio and DSP development. As the industry grew beyond dedicated hardware-hosted DSP, the release of the ‘SSL Native’ plug-ins signaled SSL’s first steps into the Digital Audio Workstation software marketplace - including the legendary Bus Compressor and Channel Strip plug-ins, inspired by sought-after sound of the SL 4000 E-series analogue console.
The entrance into the software marketplace marked the beginning of a relationship between Solid State Logic and PACE Anti-Piracy. In early 2011 SSL needed a licensing solution for their software and evaluated PACE’s early product InterLok. SSL needed a Machine Based Licensing solution, a solution which PACE was still developing, and ultimately SSL chose an alternative licensing platform.
It is important to note that license management platforms hold a variety of responsibility on many different levels. Not only does a platform have to securely distribute licenses to end users, the platform must also stay up to date with the latest operating system releases. "Customers are expecting things to work in their environment. In the audio industry, customers often need to avoid upgrading their computers for backcompatibility reasons between sessions. Supporting all of these environments ends up being maintenance and testing for the developer and you need a platform that can target all these things and is going to work. There are a lot of changes to keep up with. I don't think this would be possible were we doing all of this in house!” remarked Jon Sandman, Product Manager at SSL.
In 2013 an OS release caused a variety of issues with the SSL licensing system. The licensing vendor SSL had chosen was unable to maintain the software updates needed to continue uninterrupted service and a good user experience when a major release occurred. The issues caused the team at Solid State Logic to reach back out to PACE Anti-Piracy. “We needed a solution that was widely supported and from a supplier that made the integration process fast and straightforward. We had already used proprietary and less well known securitization solutions, and familiarity and market acceptance had been seen as barriers to success.”
By this time, PACE had developed and released Eden - a robust license management system with Machine-Based Licensing and security - exactly what SSL needed. James Motley, Head of Workstation Products at SSL at the time, was concerned about the cost to migrate license management platforms to PACE, and the effect it would have on business. PACE was able to work with the SSL and Audiotonix team to create flexible pricing and tiers.
When asked why SSL chose to go to PACE for their licensing needs, Jon Sandman said “We were aware of a number of successful companies using PACE security solutions in our industry. Many of our customers were already familiar with PACE, and so in looking for a securitization solution, PACE was an obvious choice.” When asked why SSL did not choose an alternative licensing solution, Jon continued “Market acceptance is important to us. Securitization and piracy prevention measures are a sensitive subject for our customers, and since PACE had already achieved acceptance with users and established themselves as a leader in our industry, a significant hurdle was overcome from the offset.”
“It is especially important to SSL that we also protect our IP. Emulations of SSL hardware, for example - if someone were to pick the software apart, then it would be a real shame for the dedicated plug-in development and DSP team that we have here at SSL.”
In addition to offering security and licensing services, the PACE Anti-Piracy brand also houses JUCE - an open-source cross-platform C++ application framework, used for the development of desktop and mobile applications. JUCE has been an integral part of the SSL software development framework. SSL has expanded software plug-in development - going from 10 plug-ins, to regularly releasing on average 2 plug-ins every quarter bringing the current total to 22.
“Not only our plug-ins, but our desktop application is in JUCE - the virtual mixer. We are reaping some of the benefits of the JUCE framework - including graphics improvements - in our SSL 360° desktop application and our new 4K B plug-in which used the latest JUCE release. The 4K B channel strip plug-in is an analogue model of the SL 4000 B-series console channel - an entirely new SSL channel strip for your productions - complete with 360° Plug-in Mixer (your virtual SSL console) and first-class integration with the SSL UC1 and UF8 for hands-on control.”
With PACE’s acquisition of JUCE also came the stewardship of the Audio Developer Conference (www.audio.dev). ADC will host its 7th annual conference in London and Online this year November 14 -16, 2022.
Solid State Logic supported the mission of the Audio Developer Conference with silver sponsorships in 2021.
The SSL team participated both online and in-person during the conference, presenting a talk How to Stand the Test of Time (Despite The Time it Takes to Test) by Jon Sandman. When asked why the Audio Developer Conference is important, Jon remarked “It is great to connect with the people that make the products you love.”
“I’ve always had an interest in accessibility and UX. It is a pretty broad subject, and going to ADC and actually connecting with experts in that field inspired me, and gave me a mental roadmap of what we can do and what our focus can be, which is important for me as a Product Manager.”
PACE Anti-Piracy brings a standard in professional audio software licensing that many companies rely on. We take great pride in working with organizations like Solid State Logic to ensure their software licensing needs are met. In addition, we are honored to expand our connection to SSL through our brands JUCE and the Audio Developer Conference. We look forward to a continued partnership on all levels!
For more information on the new SSL 4K B plug-in, please visit: https://www.solidstatelogic.com/products/ssl-4k-b
For more information on the Audio Developer Conference visit https://audio.dev
Maybe you’ve been making audio software for decades, or perhaps you’ve just finished your first plug-in with JUCE, and now you want people to try it for a certain period of time. Let’s talk about some quick and easy ways to offer trial licenses for your PACE-protected software. By the end of this, you will know several of the ways in which you can provide trial licenses, and some of the methods for delivering those trial licenses.
As a software publisher using the PACE licensing system, you have a lot of control over who can gain access to your software, and how. Whether you want to offer a perpetual license with several activations, or a subscription license only allowed on an iLok USB, or just a timed trial so everyone can try your product before they buy it, you control the ways in which your customers interact with your software.
Let’s explore several ways of distributing trial licenses to customers (and how to implement them) so everyone can enjoy trying your products, including:
Auto-demo is one of the most widely used methods for depositing a trial license into your customer’s iLok account. Why? Because the PACE tools do the work for you.
It starts with the Activation Experience, which is a tool included with PACE Level 1 protection. The Activation Experience is triggered when PACE-protected desktop software is launched, or when a PACE-protected plug-in is scanned by a DAW. If you install a PACE-protected pro audio plug-in and do not yet have a license for it, the Activation Experience will pop up and ask the customer to log into their iLok account. After a user logs in, it will search for any valid license for that product within that iLok account.
If a license is found, Activation Experience will ask the user where it should be activated (iLok USB/iLok Cloud/machine, for example) and continue through the activation process.
If a license is not found, Activation Experience will pop up a ‘Try’ button. When that Try button is clicked, it will automatically deposit a trial license (pre-selected by the publisher) into that iLok account, and then continue with the activation process.
Once you (the Publisher) have set up your trial license and chosen the Auto-demo in your Activation Experience setup, all you need to deliver to the customer is that PACE-protected binary for the customers to gain access to a trial license.
Benefits of Auto-demo:
Built into the PACE SDK is access to an online portal called PACE Central. Among many other tools within PACE Central, (including license creation, trial license time limit setup, iLok account search, etc.) there is the Code Factory. The Code Factory allows you to create and manage activation codes for various licenses, including trials and perpetual licenses. You can create activation codes yourself and distribute them right to your customers.
Once your customer has that code, it can be redeemed one of two ways:
Which one is better? Whichever one your customer prefers. There is a benefit when your customer uses iLok License Manager because it will allow them to see more exactly which location they have activated the license to.
Redeeming a code and activating with iLok License Manager
Redeeming a code and activating with Activation Experience
Once you’ve created a batch of codes, there is the question of how you will deliver those codes to your potential customers. See the Methods of Distribution below for some commonly used ways to get trial licenses to your customers.
Benefits of Activation Codes:
The online portal, PACE Central, allows software publishers to manually deposit licenses directly into any iLok account. Having the ability to quickly deposit a trial license for customer support reasons, or for beta testing and influencer management, can be quite helpful. However, manually depositing trial licenses one by one for your general customer base is not recommended, for the hopefully obvious reason that it will quickly become tedious and time-consuming.
Whether you decide to use Auto-demo or Activation Codes for your trial licenses, there are a few methods of distribution to consider. Once you have a PACE-protected binary, you could easily give out Activation Codes to anyone or, just provide a download link for your installer if you chose the Auto-demo. Why wouldn’t you do that? Because you will want to know who actually tries your software.
People who try your software are your target audience, which means you’ll want to get them to opt in to marketing and promotional emails from you. This will provide you with the ability to:
While the PACE tools provide valuable data on licenses deposited for support purposes, owning your own customer database and knowing each product they have tried and/or purchased will enable you to grow your business and stay connected from the very beginning. Knowing the lifetime value of your customers is crucial for successful planning of marketing and promotional plans.
This option would require someone to either provide an email address, or a full user registration (name, email, etc.) on your website, before you allow them access to the installer for your product. Once that registration is verified, a redirect URL can give access to the installer with the Auto-demo. If you choose Activation Codes, one can be emailed to the customer.
This involves setting up a $0 product in your webstore that requires customers to fill out information and allows you to place a checkbox to try for the opt-in of marketing emails. Once they have ‘purchased’ a trial for that product, the installer can be provided with either the Activation Code to be redeemed, or a link to the installer for your software with the Auto-demo included.
To sum it up, once you’ve decided to protect your desktop application or plug-in with PACE, there are several ways to create and deliver trial licenses to your customers.
As your business grows, there are more advanced options available to centralize the direct sales, dealer sales, and customer registration and installation processes. This would involve having your own code system for users and dealers in a central place with more automated and secure deposits to PACE. This could also include single sign-on and activation in your application. Having all of this data within your own CRM or database will allow for a more seamless customer experience and more upsell opportunities, and remove any potential data privacy issues. PACE clients that make this investment in their infrastructure tend to have great success in growing their business and increasing the lifetime value for each customer.
Our experience has shown that publishers increase sales when they offer prospective customers a trial of their plug-in. To that end, we at PACE have created a licensing platform that offers our publishers the ability to customize the trial and demo experience. By offering multiple ways of creating and delivering licenses, we give our publishers the autonomy to customize the experience that is best for their customers.
For more information on offering trial licenses or how PACE can benefit you and your customers, contact us now.
PACE Anti-Piracy was featured in a recent edition of Cyber Defense Magazine with an article titled “Are We Shifting Left Enough” written by Douglas Kinloch, VP of Business Development.
The term “shift left” is centered on the idea that Application Security efforts are now happening at earlier stages of the development lifecycle. Mr. Kinloch adds to the discussion by raising the questions “how far left does an organization need to shift?”
He writes: “Shift Left” is in danger of becoming a buzz-word, much as “End Point” did 20 years ago. In software development, it is clear that the idea of moving security awareness from traditionally the last thing considered before shipping, to something every developer understands, can implement, and can act accordingly has to be a good thing. “Zero Trust” is another buzzword that may travel hand-in-hand with Shift Left, but as many are beginning to point out there is no single Zero Trust silver bullet, it’s a process. As a process it needs to be the default setting of any designer of any system relying on IT networks, connectivity or software.”
At PACE we are users of software tools that ensure the Licensing products we supply to our customers and partners remains as secure as possible. It is a different approach to most License Management tools where there is an emphasis on process, revenue management and software monetization. It is our belief that if the License Manager can be compromised, then all the software monetization tools in the world can’t maximize revenue or protect developers’ IP.
In order to deliver such security the Developer team at PACE “shifted left” in the early 2000s and delivered iLok License Manager, secured by deep understanding of application code, and use of our Fusion Application Protection tools; Anti-Tamper and Obfuscation. To further secure customers’ IP and revenue streams, White Box Works ensures the security of the cryptographic keys within the entire system.
PACE is now offering the same capabilities to partners across a number of markets, supporting Software POS and High Value Software customers, protecting IP and vitally important business logic from outside interference.
The assumption that compiled app code will be accessed, and that attackers have the tools and skills changes the security calculus completely.
Zero Trust means that developers protecting their code understand that the actual end-point is not the device, or even the application within that device, but is the source code on the developers’ machine - before it’s even compiled. So when you decide to Shift Left, as we did, ask yourself, “how far?”
Find the full article in Cyber Defense Magazine.
For more information on how PACE tools can help your organization shift left, contact us.
Freehand Graphics is a global leader in software solutions for the screen-printing industry. Some of their software, notably Separation Studio NXT and AccuRIP Emerald, makes pre-press functions, like color separation, a simple and easy process for their customers.
As art students living in New York City, Charlie and Laura Facini were interested in making a career in the arts. Charlie was interested in printmaking and took a part-time job at a screen-printing shop to earn some extra money. Technology was quickly changing during this time, and screen printing was beginning to transition from a completely manual process to digitization. The industry was changing, and Charlie was at the forefront. While working daily to process orders, manually adjusting colors and specs, Charlie realized that parts of the screen-printing process were extremely time-consuming and error-prone. He decided to embrace the innovation that was happening around him with computers and technology and write a computer program to optimize the process.
Charlie wrote a program that would ultimately revolutionize screen-printing. What would normally take 3 labor-intensive days of work, Charlie’s program allowed to be done in less than an hour. Having discovered such a time-saving and efficient tool, Charlie’s screen-printing shop (which he now owned with his wife Laura) was able to process more orders and ultimately make more money. The next step – could he sell this program to other screen-printing shops?
In 1995, Freehand sought a way to distribute its software securely with a licensing system. PACE helped Freehand set up a secure licensing model that allowed customers to try the software, and later to buy it. The ability to ‘wrap’ their code with PACE’s unique architecture gave Freehand the security and flexibility it needed for trial extensions, ensuring prospects had enough time to evaluate the product and eventually buy.
In 2007, after joining forces with a new developer, Freehand decided to move toward a home-grown licensing model and no longer use PACE.
A shortfall of the home-grown licensing system was the lack of a robust license control center. With limited ability to help clients activate or deactivate software in response to local hardware issues, Freehand actively looked to improve the UX and to enhance customer service.
Free trials are at the core of many software sales strategies. For Freehand Graphics, nearly all sales are preceded by an 8-day trial. One drawback to the home-grown licensing system was that when a potential customer downloaded the trial, Freehand couldn't easily turn off access once the trial was over. People evaluating the software could, in some cases, still have access even though their trial period was over.
Freehand Graphics also offered a ‘chargeback guarantee’ – allowing customers who purchased their products to get their money back if they were not satisfied. Although a rare occurrence, when a customer did ask for a chargeback, there wasn’t an easy way to completely turn off access. A customer chargeback should have triggered the end of the license use, but the system in place did not offer that ability.
Finally, in 2019 Freehand decided to move from perpetual licenses to a subscription model. The need to make this change stemmed from a goal to create more features and a better user experience for customers. Charlie added “Perpetual is an ugly word when you are trying to create recurring revenue for a software product.” It was this decision that ultimately brought them back to PACE.
"With PACE, clients in good standing continue to benefit from using Freehand software, while those without an active license no longer have access. Freehand benefits from knowing that software activated means profits retained, while users enjoy the freedom and power of 24/7/365 web-based license controls."
The return to PACE Licensing not only helped Freehand’s new business model create recurring revenue and growth, but it also resulted in a better experience for their end-users. PACE iLok License Manager delivered a better UX for end-users, who are now more self-sufficient. This has resulted in a significant decrease in some support requests and eliminated other support issues altogether. This, in turn, has allowed Freehand to focus more on product and development.
When asked what role professional security and licensing have on Freehand Graphics, Charlie Facini responded
“Without question, our products would not exist in this form in a digital age. It is impossible. You can’t let someone trial software without security, you can’t sell without security. Without proper security, you have an open-ended sale. PACE Anti-Piracy gave us something we never had in the past... mental security.”
For more information on how PACE Anti-Piracy can help with your licensing needs, contact us!
Are you using a Continuous Integration (CI) build pipeline that is based in the Cloud and need to code sign your plugins for AAX on a virtual machine? If so, PACE has the solution for you. Meet Cloud 2 Cloud.
Cloud 2 Cloud is a new service available for AAX code signing that no longer requires a physical iLok USB device to be attached to the machine that is handling the code signing certification. Software developers can now achieve the same result - a validated AAX plugin for use in Pro Tools - now without the need for an iLok USB to be attached to the machine completing the code signing process.
With Cloud 2 Cloud, now you can utilize PACE's cloud-based AAX code signing technology into your existing cloud-based build pipeline for seamless, and truly continuous integration between cloud services.
"Thanks to this tailored-made solution, we are now able to automate the build of AAX plug-ins and integrate the signing process inside Audio Modeling’s Continuous Integration system."Emanuele Parravicini, CTO, Audio Modeling
To learn more about how Audio Modeling integrated Cloud 2 Cloud with their CI system, click on the link here.
Fighting software piracy is an ongoing battle; it means lost revenue, marketshare , and your reputation as a publisher could be at stake.
Unauthorized copying and distribution accounted for $2.4 billion in lost revenue in the United States alone in the 1990s,** and is assumed to be causing impact on revenues in the music and the game industry, leading to the proposal of stricter copyright laws such as PIPA and the DMCA. Everyone knows that illegally sharing software is wrong, yet it still happens every day. Lowering the barrier to entry by removing copy protection, or moving to a flimsy, online pay wall model has been proven ineffective at preserving software integrity. Our research has shown that a hacker’s intentions are difficult to predict. Sometimes, they wish to crack very expensive software to deliver it to the masses; other times, they crack software for sport and recognition amongst their peers. This makes anti piracy protection an important factor to consider if your goal is to make money. Not only do hackers offer product for free but they often abuse copyrights as well.
Another point to consider is how an anti piracy solution can protect your companies brand, perhaps your greatest asset. Good anti piracy software protects your executable inside and out and makes your product tamperproof. Our research has also shown us that global hackers are not as concerned about giving away your software for free, but rather they see your success as a vehicle to steal precious and sensitive information from your audience. By reverse engineering and inserting malware, hackers can gain access to your customers’ data and computers. If you have not adopted stringent anti piracy software protection practices, experienced hackers can quickly and easily infiltrate your distributions and ruin your company’s reputation. With open communication readily available in social media, it is even more imperative, as your potential customers will run from your product offering if they feel they cannot trust it.
Hackers are relentless. Their community is large and they are becoming more and more brazen with their attacks and frequency. They communicate with each other and will even crowdsource their efforts to take a software title down. They hate anti piracy protection and may often engage in a smear campaign to make software publishers believe that an anti piracy solution will hurt their bottom line. Common arguments are that the anti piracy copy protection scheme is cumbersome and a hassle for the end user. Sadly, many publishers believe this when in fact, we have the data to prove the contrary.
You would be mistaken to think that an anti piracy solution is a one-time cost, a set it and forget it investment. We have seen good, strong, expensive anti piracy software from our competitors hacked within days of being posted. Sadly, in some cases protected software lasts only hours in the wild. How do you combat this threat? Will any anti piracy solution work for your needs? We can help you with this fight. We have anti piracy solutions that are proven to be effective in protecting your company’s revenue stream.
Before we delve into discussing anti piracy software, we would like to give you a glimpse into how vulnerable you could be.
Most anti piracy software protection schemes rely on license checks to validate ownership. A license check validates the ownership and allows your software to run. Remove the license and the software will cease to work. A seasoned hacker can easily spot simple license checks and remove the checks without degrading the functionality of the software.
Of course, as anti piracy solutions become stronger, the tools hackers write and use adapt, thereby escalating this war. Mid-size to smaller companies, who lack the financial resources to sink into a homegrown anti piracy solution, don’t stand much of a chance, and some have sadly resigned themselves that their product will be hacked as soon as it’s released.
Enter PACE Anti Piracy Inc. to fight this battle for you. We have a proven track record of over 30 years developing solutions to stay ahead of attacks on our customers: You, the publisher. Until recently, our most secure method of storing a license was on a proprietary USB iLok dongle. After some technological breakthroughs and years of development, our license servers are secure enough to deliver cloud licensing at an affordable cost AND be secure enough for us to brand with the iLok name.
PACE Anti-Piracy, Inc has been in this business for over 30 years. We have seen it all and yet we are surprised at the tenacity, level of sophistication, and for lack of a better term, talent of the hacker community to quickly and methodically dismantle a publisher’s hard work and release it on a torrent site. The only way to combat these threats is to understand the motivations and methods used. We constantly monitor hacker boards and communications to understand their challenges. We look for methods that prove to be difficult for them to break. We also employ a team of reformed hackers to challenge our product offerings before they are released to our publishers. We use tested cryptography and have vast experience with anti-tamper and white box technologies. We test our anti piracy software against the most brilliant minds in the industry and we are only satisfied when they have to admit defeat.
We know it sounds like an unrealistic boast to say our anti piracy software cannot be cracked. Our goal is to stay ahead of the curve and hacking trends. We avoid giving known hooks or patterns that they recognize, and we pepper our anti piracy solutions with methods that we know are time consuming and difficult, if not impossible, to remove. We are constantly innovating and investing in the future.
We are constantly asked by new publishers how long it will take to implement. To answer that, we must take many factors into consideration. We like to describe the amount of protection our anti piracy software solution provides as a dial that can be turned from 1 to 10. One being a deterrent to abuse; 10 being robust protection for valuable IP.
There are myriad reasons why a publisher would chose a particular anti piracy setting, it usually comes down to time available and effort required. Our solution is flexible enough to accommodate your needs.
An anti piracy solution is only part of the puzzle. PACE Anti-Piracy, Inc offers product licensing that works in tandem with the tamper-proof nature of our copy protection. In all of our years in business, our licensing system and hardware dongle have never been hacked. The license the end user purchases is always visible to you with our PACE Central portal and can accommodate many licensing scenarios from a full perpetual license to a limited trial or a renewing subscription, just to name a few. We offer reasonable license distribution solutions.
Please contact us to set up a discussion; we would love to understand your requirements and what you need to get to market.
Publishers looking for sales information about the iLok licensing system, software security, or anti-piracy may follow this link: http://go.paceap.com/proaudio.
**Greg Short, Comment, Combatting Software Piracy: Can Felony Penalties for Copyright Infringement Curtail the Copying of Computer Software?, 10 Santa Clara Computer & High Tech. L.J. 221 (1994). Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/chtlj/vol10/iss1/7
As this is our first ever blog post, I’ve been struggling for days to come up with a title. With the name PACE, there are a lot of clever choices. “PACE of Change” came to me first, then “Keeping PACE”, PACE in your Face… Coming up with a name for the blog may be harder than actually writing it.
So, despite the lack of a catchy name, to begin our first blog, perhaps a look back at a very successful 2018 in the software business:
51% of businesses say they’re shifting the way they price and deliver their products or services to customers.
Last year was the year of the subscription model for PACE Anti-Piracy. Virtually every conversation we had with prospects and customers turned to when they would be rolling out a subscription offer. Inspired by Adobe and other success stories, nearly every software publisher wanted a piece of the subscription revenue pie, and who could blame them.
By 2020, all new entrants and 80% of historical vendors will offer subscription-based business modelsGartner Research
What software publisher wouldn’t want to get off the annual release roller coaster? Betting the business each year that the next release would capture new users, beat last years “best release ever”, or be compelling enough to get folks to upgrade is a gut check. The promise of a nice, predictable revenue stream that would fund continued product development is most compelling.
What publishers learned quickly was that taking a handful of old, tired products and offering them as a subscription bundle was not the key to software publisher nirvana. Successful subscription offerings stay successful by consistently adding value to the subscription bundle, such as high-profile new product additions and truly useful new features. Some larger publishers even hosted developer conferences to showcase their latest and greatest and to create a one-on-one relationship with their most devoted users and key influencers.
Other learnings were that some publishers’ products are just never going to be a good fit for a subscription model. For example, publishers with a portfolio of products that won’t ever expand, or products that are marketed at low price points.
In the first quarter of 2019, the dominant market trend we are seeing is publishers of high-value software that has traditionally been sold as a perpetual license plus maintenance fee are investigating usage-based pricing models as a means to move down market. This strategy potentially gets their software into the hands of mid-sized and smaller companies with little or no upfront cost to their customers. The metered usage fees, billed monthly, can then be mapped to their customers various profit centers, or charged to a project.
This model is even more attractive in vertical markets where the competition is open source software or where hacked versions of competitive offering are readily available for download.
Stay tuned for future posts. We will do our best to keep you up to date on the latest software industry trends and, with luck, spark some new ideas that will make 2019 a banner year for you. Oh, and maybe even come up with a name for our blog.