How to unique license key

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I'm currently involved in developing a product developed in C that'll be available for downloading and installing for free but in a very limited version. To get access to all the features the user has to pay a license fee and receive a key.

That key will then be entered into the application to "unlock" the full version. I guess I should also tie the key to the version of application somehow so it'll be possible to charge for new keys in feature versions.

I have recently read that this approach is not cryptographically very sound. But this solution is already weak as the software itself has to include the secret key somewhere , so I don't think this discovery invalidates the solution as far as it goes. Just thought I really ought to mention this, though; if you're planning to derive something else from this, beware.

There are many ways to generate license keys, but very few of those ways are truly secure. And it's a pity, because for companies, license keys have almost the same value as real cash. Only your company should be able to generate license keys for your products, even if someone completely reverse engineers your products which WILL happen, I speak from experience.

Obfuscating the algorithm or hiding an encryption key within your software is really out of the question if you are serious about controlling licensing. If your product is successful, someone will make a key generator in a matter of days from release. A license key should be useable on only one computer or at least you should be able to control this very tightly. A license key should be short and easy to type or dictate over the phone. You don't want every customer calling the technical support because they don't understand if the key contains a "l" or a "1".

Your support department would thank you for this, and you will have lower costs in this area. The answer is simple but technically challenging: Your license keys should be in fact signed "documents", containing some useful data, signed with your company's private key. The signatures should be part of the license key.

The product should validate the license keys with the corresponding public key. This way, even if someone has full access to your product's logic, they cannot generate license keys because they don't have the private key.

A license key would look like this: RSA has an bit signature. You don't want your license keys to have hundreds of characters. One of the most powerful approaches is to use elliptic curve cryptography with careful implementations to avoid the existing patents.

You can further reduce the signature sizes using algorithms like the Schnorr digital signature algorithm patent expired in - good: This is achievable by product activation Windows is a good example.

Basically, for a customer with a valid license key, you need to generate some "activation data" which is a signed message embedding the computer's hardware id as the signed data.

This is usually done over the internet, but only ONCE: From that moment on, the product does not check the license key at startup, but the activation data, which needs the computer to be the same in order to validate otherwise, the DATA would be different and the digital signature would not validate. Note that the activation data checking do not require verification over the Internet: Well, just eliminate redundant characters like "1", "l", "0", "o" from your keys.

Split the license key string into groups of characters. Don't punish honest customers with a system meant to prevent hackers, as hackers will crack it regardless. A simple hashed code tied to their email or similar is probably good enough.

Hardware based IDs always become an issue when people need to reinstall or update hardware. Good thread on the issue: When generating the key, don't forget to concatenate the version and build number to the string you calculate the hash on. That way there won't be a single key that unlocks all everything you ever released. After you find some keys or patches floating in astalavista. NET applications are inherently breakable because of the intermediate language issues.

A simple disassembly of the. NET code will open your product to anyone. They can easily bypass your licensing code at that point. You can't even use hardware values to create a key anymore. Virtual machines now allow someone to create an image of a 'licensed' machine and run it on any platform they choose. If it's expensive software there are other solutions. If it's not, just make it difficult enough for the casual hacker.

And accept the fact that there will be unlicensed copies out there eventually. If your product is complicated, the inherent support issues will be create some protection for you. It's based on a "Partial Key Verification" system which means only a subset of the key that you use to generate the key has to be compiled into your distributable. You create the keys your self, so the licence implementation is unique to your software. As stated above, if your code can be decompiled, it's relatively easy to circumvent most licencing systems.

I've used Crypkey in the past. It's one of many available. The only way to do everything you asked for is to require an internet access and verification with a server. The application needs to sign in to the server with the key, and then you need to store the session details, like the IP address. This will prevent the key from being used on several different machines.

This is usually not very popular with the users of the application, and unless this is a very expensive and complicated application it's not worth it. You could just have a license key for the application, and then check client side if the key is good, but it is easy to distribute this key to other users, and with a decompiler new keys can be generated.

I've implemented internet-based one-time activation on my company's software C. The software hits the server with the key and is given license information that is then encrypted locally using an RSA key generated from some variables a combination of CPUID and other stuff that won't change often on the client computer and then stores it in the registry.

It requires some server-side coding, but it has worked really well for us and I was able to use the same system when we expanded to browser-based software. It also gives your sales people great info about who, where and when the software is being used. Any licensing system that is only handled locally is fully vulnerable to exploitation, especially with reflection in. But, like everyone else has said, no system is wholly secure. In my opinion, if you aren't using web-based licensing, there's no real point to protecting the software at all.

With the headache that DRM can cause, it's not fair to the users who have actually paid for it to suffer. I strongly believe, that only public key cryptography based licensing system is the right approach here, because you don't have to include essential information required for license generation into your sourcecode. In the past, I've used Treek's Licensing Library many times, because it fullfills this requirements and offers really good price. It uses the same license protection for end users and itself and noone cracked that until now.

You can also find good tips on the website to avoid piracy and cracking. It is not possible to prevent software piracy completely.

You can prevent casual piracy and that's what all licensing solutions out their do. Node machine locked licensing is best if you want to prevent reuse of license keys.

I have been using Cryptlex for about a year now for my software. It has a free plan also, so if you don't expect too many customers you can use it for free. Like a few others mentioned, I'm a huge opponent of being hostile to customers by default—something that the licensing industry is notorious for. So I'll expand on a good solution for your problem that also offers a good customer UX. To start off, you mentioned that you have a "limited" version of your software that you're using to try and convert customers to "upgrade" for additional features.

So what you're looking for are feature licenses for your product e. I built Keygen with this type of licensing in mind. What I would do is set up 2 license types a policy within Keygen where one is a base policy for the limited free version, and the other is a policy for the paid version. I'm not sure what you're using for payments, but let's assume you're using something like Stripe pretty standard nowadays that offers webhooks.

Keygen also has webhooks whether you use it or not, all this is still applicable. You can integrate Keygen to talk with your payment provider using webhooks from both sides think: So by utilizing webhooks, we can automate license creation for new customers. So what about license validation within the application itself? This can be done in a variety of ways, but the most popular way is by requiring your customer to enter a long license key into an input field which you can then validate; I think this is a terrible way to handle license validation in your application.

Why do I think that? Well first off, you're requiring your customer to input a tediously long license key that is meant for machine consumption, and second your requiring you and your customer to keep track of said tediously long license key.

Okay, so what's an alternative? I think the best alternative is doing something all of your customers are used to: You can then associate all of their licenses and their machines with that account. So now instead of inputting a license key, they can simply log in using their credentials.

What advantage does that give you? Firstly, it gets rid of the need for you and your customers to keep track of license keys, since it's all handled behind-the-scenes inside of their user account and most importantly:

how to  unique license key

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Graham Irons Mar After all, you paid for your Windows 7, 8, or 8. Well, just eliminate redundant characters like "1", "l", "0", "o" from your keys. The OS available back then would have been XP - which was a lot less security conscious than more modern ones. And accept the fact that there will be unlicensed copies out there eventually. It has a free plan also, so if you don't expect too many customers you can use it for free. I've had a key from the website licence-activation dot com and I can say that they are the best on the internet. I actually didn't know about this site.

License Key Generation

The application needs to sign in to the server with the key, and then you need to store the session details, like the IP address. You should run your finished software through De4Dot and. Alia Butt May If your product is successful, someone will make a key generator in a matter of days from release. Whereas Microsoft made Windows 7, 8, and 8. In retail version, you can move the license on any PC without violating terms do check EULA once again if the number of licenses are same as purchased. We'll show you the most useful commands every Windows user needs to know. Each system within the corporate has to activate itself every days to ensure people are not misusing by installating Windows in home etc using the corporate key. Considerations Although verifying licenses online gives you more control over each instance of the application, internet connection is not always present especially if you target larger enterprises , so we need another way of performing the license key verification. In my opinion, if you aren't using web-based licensing, there's no real point to protecting the software at all.

Developer's overview for generating license keys and activating software.

how to  unique license key

If you have an OEM version of Windows, your license will still be limited to one system, the license matched to its hardware. Sign up using Facebook. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below. There are also OEM Licences which are activated in a similar way to retail licences: Benefits of a license key server The advantages with a license key server is that: Firstly, it gets rid of the need for you and your customers to keep track of license keys, since it's all handled behind-the-scenes inside of their user account and most importantly: The x character states just a filler or random number. Artem 9 Graham Irons Mar The checksum number class uses checksum routines that are pretty basic. A license key would look like this: In the past, I've used Treek's Licensing Library many times, because it fullfills this requirements and offers really good price. The shift in corporate culture towards open innovation has made it easier than ever to show your ideas to the most powerful and influential companies in the world.

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