Striking Back at Hackers, Pirates, & Leaks

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013

Software and game developers constantly have to battle the threat of leaks and security breaches. With such culturally accepted and widespread pirating, a full leak or crack could undermine years of research and development, while severely cutting into potential profits. Developers can secure their projects from hacking and leaks by exclusively storing and syncing with a private cloud service.

Photoshop CC leaked onto PirateBay

Image courtesy of petapixel.com

In the face of perpetual hacking threats, developers have been forced to come up with some pretty funny ways of getting back at hackers and pirates. The developers of Arkham Asylum put in some sneaky coding that identifies once the game has been pirated, rendering aspects of the game virtually unplayable. And in the Nintendo DS version of Michael Jackson: The Experience, pirated versions play a switched out soundtrack of a vuvuzela orchestra. While these instances of pirate revenge might provide for a few laughs, they’re far from good security practices. With better practices, security standards, and private cloud storage, developers can ditch the revenge game for a virtually unbreachable data security system.

According to the research firm Forrester, the cloud has enabled companies to stay a step ahead. In a recent Wave report on the public cloud platform market, Forrester said, “Public cloud platforms are the keys that unlock the flexibility, productivity, and economic advantages of cloud computing.” When developers tap into the public cloud potential, they save big on in house server needs, large IT teams, and lost profits from hacks and leaks. Even software giants like Adobe have found their advanced efforts thwarted by savvy hackers. Only a day after the launch of Adobe Photoshop CC, pirates cracked, uploaded, and spread the software for illegal downloading. Uploaded by a user named Ching Liu, the “Adobe Photoshop CC 14.0 Final Multilanguage” torrent was soon one of the most popular software downloads on the notorious PirateBay. Adobe developers had tried to avoid such hacks by including subscription authorizations, but hackers were able to crack them, allowing pirates to use the expensive software for “free”, at the large expense of Adobe.

President Obama with Chinese President Xi Jinpin

Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

And Adobe isn’t the only large company to be attacked by hacking. Recently, President Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinpin to talk about the threat of security breaches that many Fortune 500s face on a daily basis, including Lockheed Martin, Google, and Bank of America. In addition to larger enterprises, small to medium-sized businesses, including many developers, have started to become prime targets for hacking, leaks, and pirating. According to a recent Symantec report, almost a third of all security breaches have been at the expense of a smaller business. This marks a 72% jump from the previous year, an increase that should alarm all developers.

Barabus Hacked The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile

Image courtesy of gamebreaker.tv

Another instance of developers falling victim to hacking and pirating is the case of The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile. Recently, the Russian hacker Barabus uploaded a PC port of the latest Xbox 360 game, which was previously an exclusive title for the device. Ska Studios was previously able to benefit from an exclusive contract with Xbox 360, and potential releases on other platforms could have been in the works, to further profit the developers that worked so hard on the title. According to Barabus, he cracked and uploaded the game for pirating simply because the developers had not yet released the title for PC. According to Barabus, “The view was expressed that, with respect to the authors, it is not very nice to publish the game on the PC. I have to argue that the part of the authors are not very nice to publish the game exclusively for the Xbox 360, making it impossible for PC gamers to play such a great game. Piracy — yes, that is bad. On the other hand, we did not steal the game for the Xbox 360; we released it for the PC port. Given that the developers ignored the PC platform, about any loss of profit for them is not out of the question. After all, if they wanted to earn money, then the game would be issued on all available platforms. If the game came out on PC officially, then this thread would not exist.” For developers that don’t want hackers determining their platform releases and strategy, trusting a private cloud storage and sync service can safeguard projects.

Private Cloud Solutions for Developers

SpiderOak Blue offers developers data privacy through secure public cloud and onsite server options, granting developers of all sizes flexibility. Choosing the right third party cloud service can be a challenge as many services on the market have security gaps that leave projects vulnerable to third party attacks and pirating. But SpiderOak sets itself apart from the rest of the market by providing a fully private cloud service featuring all of the benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data privacy and user anonymity.

SpiderOak protects sensitive projects through 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices, as SpiderOak never hosts plaintext data of any kind. SpiderOak Blue’s private cloud services are available for developers on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, making this one of the only flexible cross-platform solutions on the market.

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