Anti-piracy solution Denuvo was, until recently, a very viable option to bar pirates from playing illegally downloaded games. After it was first used in 2014, reports came out stating that the software would have a negative impact on performance due to the software allegedly encrypting and decrypting itself, a rumor that has since been debunked by Denuvo in an FAQ on their official website.
The software pretty much did what it was supposed to, to the point where notable cracking forum 3DM came out saying that they predicted that games would be uncrackable by 2018. Fast forward to 2016, and some games like Just Cause 3 and Dragon Age: Inquisition managed to remain uncracked until well after they were released to stores. Denuvo seemed to be the best answer to online piracy for a while until cracker group CONSPIR4CY managed to bypass Denuvo in Rise of the Tomb Raider by using a simulation of the Denuvo DRM process, marking this as the first time that Denuvo has been cracked. Most recently, the horror game Resident Evil 7: Biohazard‘s Denuvo protection was cracked within 5 days of its retail release. While the service definitely wasn’t cracked, it being bypassed means that Denuvo might have to go back to the drawing board.
Despite their success in staving off piracy in the first few days of release, their website apparently isn’t as secure as their anti-piracy solution. The Austrian company’s website apparently left some private directories on their servers open to the public, a mistake crackers immediately took advantage of before Denuvo corrected the mistake. Following the link to the directory now only gets you a good look at a 403. With the internet being the internet, the files were swiftly reuploaded to a different website which you’ll have to go and find yourself.
In the directories are a host of emails going as far back as 2014 from developers and companies interested in the technology, as well as emails written by, shall we say “slightly miffed”, people giving Denuvo’s customer support staff their honest thoughts on the anti-tampering software. The former group includes interested parties like Google and Capcom, while the latter is comprised of mostly angry yet hilarious raging from angry pirates (there’s a Reddit thread going on with people posting some of the exchanges here). Here’s the best one:
‘message’ => ‘Hello, I am the developer of ABZU game, thanks to your Anti-tamper system that prevented our game from getting cracked as of now. We have started working on another great game, and we plan to use Denuvo on that game as well. However, in our development process, we have come at a situation that we need our ABZU game\’s original executable files since our new game is based on that, could you send us the original executables of our game that we sent to you for implementing Denuvo?
Also included in the leak are access logs from Denuvo’s website as well as a list of email addresses third parties used to contact Denuvo’s customer service as well as addresses of some industry workers and a few executables which will probably be of great interest for crackers. The files also contains the names of a few games that may end up using Denuvo like Mount and Blade 2. The files also show that Rockstar Games were (or are) interested in Denuvo at some point. Regardless of all that, what crackers will be able to do with these files is anyone’s guess at this point, but we’ll be watching this situation as it unfolds so we can relay it back to you if and when something happens.
What do you think of this news? What are your thoughts on the Denuvo anti-piracy system?