Dongle Bashing
End of the dongle old aera ~ Dongles bye bye
(re-uploade version October 1998)

first part ~ second part
"How a single +HCU reverser can easily blow a whole commercial sector out of history"
29 January 1998
by Frog's print
Courtesy of Fravia's page of reverse engineering
Oh my... the dongle old aera is finished. Out.
That's it, nothing more to add... let's hope we get a new dongle aera to work on.
Awesome essay. Frog's Print's incredible work should be printed (44 pages !) and sipped slowly, it's 'cracking for conoisseurs'... fravia's vintage 1998 "grand reserve"!
Bye bye to all those that wanted to do some quick bucks selling hardware protections that were NOT protections at all. This is good, nobody will mourn the disappearing of smoke-sellers and bogus protectors. Bye bye to all those that never cared to study assembly. This is good. Bye bye to all the creations of the poor programmers that blindly trusted commercial (and THEREFORE bogus) dongle protections to defend their valuable software instead of writing their own much more solide protections. Tsch Tsch.
You had better read +ORC's students essays first... next time. And learn. And now don't come to the silly idea to blame Frog's Print... blame those dilettantes that have sold you smoke. Blame yourself. A little reality cracking would have done you some good, probably. Well, one never ends learning, does one? I would never have believed myself that (almost) all implementations of the dongle protections scheme were so stupid. Oh my, how low, how deep have the programmers fallen, since Micro$oft introduced its frilly-dizzy rattamazz operating system :-)
Of course anyone of my readers could now just 'go shopping' and download, fetch or get hundred thousand dongle protected software programs, each one of them -incidentally- extremely expensive. DO NOT DO IT. You'll only stuff your already exploding harddisks to death for nothing and bore yourself to death.
See, you don't need to do it: that poor software won't disappear, nor it will go away. It will always be there. It wont be dongle protected any more after this, oh no, no, no :-)
Yet, probably it will be as poorly protected as before by some other charlatans, smoke-selling some other 'infallible' protection scheme... people never learn. Unless they study. That's why you are here, my good reader, to master a difficult but POWERFUL art: reversing.
So don't steal the software that Frog's Print has now stripped naked. Look at those protection schemes, pathetically whining and sobbing under Frog's streng and mighty reversing blick. They wont be ever able to run away, the poor scared things.
Of course -as it happens- this essay could be useful AGAINST THEFT.. for our underfunded public universities for instance, where (as I very well know) hardware dongles are regularly and phisycally stolen from their parallel ports (it's difficult to find a way to fest them there and students don't show any respect for public property any more, having being corrupted by the 'sacrality' of private gains and property)... so this essay may be a good reading, for all colleagues in the public sector, in order to protect against stupid vandalic theft their legally bought software as well :-)
See: +crackers bring solutions for the good ones and ruin for the evil ones :-)
Also in:



There is a crack, a crack in everything That's how the light gets in
(x)Beginner (x)Intermediate (x)Advanced ( )Expert

This essay covers 14 dongle protected softs: they ALL can be FREELY DOWNLOADED from their respective companies home pages / sites (see links below).

Dongle Bashing
End of the dongle old aera ~ Dongles bye bye
"How a single +HCU reverser can easily blow a whole commercial sector out of history"

Written by Frog's Print


Due to the huge Dongle/Security advertisement campaign overrunning the Net those days (may be the biggest ever), mostly from Aladdin (Hasp) and Rainbow Technologies (Sentinel), I decided to start a first approach on this kind of protection. 
For this, I needed Dongle programs.  
-Q: Where the hell could we find Dongle protected softs??  
-A: On the Net! 
Yes, on the Net and for FREE. It's just like sharewares: you download them, sometimes as the fully working update/new version or as a demo you can test, and, if you send money to the author, you get a dongle instead of a password. 
I fetched 14 of them, all different kind : 
From Hasp, Sentinel, DesKEY, Activator/Unikey to 'home-made' dongles, simple or not, cheap or very expensive softs, small or overbloated, useless or useful, running under Windows 32bit, 16bit or DOS, cracked them using Live approach, Dead Listing or Zen cracking : every one to his taste!  
After that, I can already give you my conclusion:  
What a disappointment! Only one soft out of 14 had an interesting protection (MicroCap V). So, dongles appear to be a good "ready_to_use" protection but they are NOT. They are as much complicated to program as they are to crack (sometimes even more). If you are a programmer and want to use a dongle to protect your soft, you must understand that you need to have real strong knowledge about protection and programming. Otherwise just forget it (and you'll save money).  

So, Dongles could be a very powerful and strong way to protect a long as the programmer willing to utilize one knows how to use it. Unfortunately, most of them don't (note that we are not talking about shareware programmers but professional guys! ) and are still using our "beloved" Test eax,eax//jnz Bad_Guy stupid routine, thinking that they don't have to worry about the protection because the dongle will take care of it (same old problem discussed so much often here -: ). Some of them use ridiculous $5 shareware tricks to protect $4.000 professional softs (see Vision XXL) and, worse, others just forgot to read the Dongle documentation manual shipped with their hardware key (see ABBCS31), you'll even find some of the most amazingly stupid protections I can't find any words to describe them (see DigiSHOW). Too bad...specially when those programs are available for free download on the Net.  

Sometimes it may be useful to know which dongle is needed for the program you want to crack (Aladdin's Hasp, Rainbow Technologies' Sentinel, Dinkey, Everlock...) or, very important if you plan to use SoftICE and some Breakpoints, the type of dongle (parallel or serial key, internal or PCMCIA card, Network dongle...), sometimes you won't even have to care about that. And, finally, in just few cases, you may not be able to crack a program if you don't have the right dongle (but if you have the dongle why should you crack it? -: ) or because the program is strongly encrypted and/or uses too many anti-debugger and anti-w32dasm/IDAPro protections (usually, those anti-crackers protections are not written by the programer himself :- ).  
For this, never forget to read carefully the program's doc or HLP files, to visit it's company home page (specially the "installation help" or "FAQ" pages) to collect the maximum infos about the dongle needed. You'll find them most of the time, but sometimes you may only find that the program needs a "green" or "red" dongle. So don't forget to monitor the program installation on your Hard Drive : for all the programs of this essay, during their installation I used CleanSweep, WinDelete and TechFacts, all 3 programs running at the same time. Then check for new .Vxd, .Drv, .Sys and .Dll files in you windows(/system) or the programs directories. Do the same the first time you'll run the program because it may use/create and hide a lot of "~x34_m-!.sys" or similar strange named files anywhere on your HD. If you can identify the Dongle manufacturer, then visit its WWW/FTP sites, newsgroups, read newspaper articles about it and visit programmers' tools retailers companies sites like SOSdevelopers (if you can understand French), download their softs/demos (SOSdevelopers download section), get their free catalogue where you'll find all products for programers and the latest protections tools of the market (BTW, SOSdevelopers is probably actually one of the rare place where you can still find SoftICE 3.01 and all others Numega 14 days trial version products available for downloading since Numaga lately removed their Download section from their WWW home site -: ). And finally, if you plan to crack several dongle protected softs, install and monitor the first one, crack it and then delete it before installing the second one, third one... otherwise it'll be to messy and complicated to monitor and crack.  

Here is now, for instance, some infos I found at Aladdin SoftWares (Hasp/NetHasp dongles). They wrote this to help programers to write a "good" protection for their dongle (blue comments are mine of course!): 

Tips and Tricks for Maximum Protection (from Aladdin SoftWares)  

The golden rule of HASP-based software protection is that the protection system is only as secure as the routines that call the key and decide whether to allow execution of the protected program. In other words,   
since the hardware of HASP keys is too complicated to break or duplicate, hackers will usually try to trace the protection code and eliminate the protection routines  
Emulating the Dongle by re-writing its main routine is much funnier than boring tracing and patching (and sometimes a lot easier, specially the Hasp protection routine! )  
While we supply you with the best hardware and software protection tools available, and while the HASP Envelope can by itself provide an excellent protection for application programs, if possible, you should enhance your protection system by implementing the Application Programming Interface (API) as well  
If only they knew how to do it...  

Please keep in mind that while no single technique can defeat every hacker, the more traps and safeguards you use, the more difficult it will be to break your software. In order to achieve maximum protection with HASP, we suggest you implement at least some of the procedures outlined below:   
Issue as many calls as possible with many different Seed Codes.   
The more calls and expected responses you use, the more difficult it will be to trace and remove them  
Boring yes, difficult not really.  

Perform logical divisions of the checking procedure. Divide the checking procedure, and if possible, spread it across your program at far-away points.   
A logical division would be: calling, checking, and reacting routines, each situated in a different section of the program  
Hide parts of the checking code within a regular source code. For example, the calling routine can be hidden within a general initialization routine  
Easy to find with a BPIO 278/378  

Use complicated mathematical expressions. In order to confuse hackers, check for the Return Codes using complicated mathematical expressions. For example, if you are expecting a Return Code which equals 26387, incorporate an expression such as the one below to perform the check:   
        If (ReturnCode1 - 7)/4 = (ExpectedReturnCode1 - 6602)/3  then...  
To further enhance your level of security, follow the same procedure throughout your software for any mathematical constants used in implementing your HASP software protection solution.   
Yes, and add a beautiful jnz_Bad_Guy at the end...   

Use delayed reactions. Do not react immediately to a checking call. For example,do not test for a certain value and then issue an error message if you do not like the result. If you do, the hacker will easily understand what you are doing.   
It is better to store the value in a variable A, check A's value a few subroutine calls later, and set a new variable B to say whether or not you like it. Several calls after that, test the value of B, and only then issue the error message.   
Force hackers to work backward to figure out how B got a certain value and why the program fails because of that. The relation to the original returned value should no longer be obvious.   
See above  

Perform check-sums. Perform a check-sum on the program to find out if it has been   
tampered with. The most effective means to do this is with the HASP Pro Kit.   
Otherwise, the simplest way to do so is to use the following pattern:   
        Calculate check-sum.  
        Compare with correct value.  
        If the two do not match,  
                        issue an error message;  
                        otherwise, continue.  
Unfortunately, this technique is vulnerable to several attacks. 
Bad luck!   

To crack a dongle, you must first locate the protection you'll have to crack. Any means are good: 
-searching in the program or its DLLs the main dongle routine (I wrote my own  that search a directory for the file where the Hasp routine is located). 
-Bpio with softICE. It will always work (as long as you don't forget to install the driver and, most of the time, reboot to load it) but you may easily get stuck/lost deep inside complex routines. 
-Since most programs will issue an error message ("Dongle not found"...) you may just have to BPX the MessageBoxA functions or all other similar ones and find the cross-references. 
-Disassembling the file to find some "Check_If_Dongle_OK" exported functions. 

After that, there are different ways to crack it:  
1/Reverse engineering the dongle protection main routine in order to emulate the dongle (see ABBCS31).  
-This is very efficient specially if this routine is called dozens or sometimes hundreds of times throughout the program (otherwise we would have to patch all those cross-references!).   
-With this method, you don't need to have the dongle driver loaded (if you have 10 programs using different dongles, you'll need to have 10 different drivers always loaded).  
2/Patching some Call, Test or jnz instructions.   
Not the most elegant method but useful if:  
-you don't know how the dongle protection routine works but you quickly found the right Bad_Guy Flag.   
-your program is to slow to start/run . Some overbloated EXE or DLL will check for a dongle, dongle ID and Seed Code and, if they can't find them, will check again and again before telling you that you don't have the requested hardware key. For that reason, those programs may check for the dongle for 15 or sometimes +30 seconds. This even happens sometimes after you "emulated" the Dongle. A real waste of time! (see WellCAD).   
3/Brute force approach:  
Close to the above solution, this one may be quite useful for program that may react strangely when they are modified. This method just force them to work the way you want (see Ai Damage). 
4/You may use your own tips/findings like searching with Hiew the bytes sequence 0xE900000000 
jmp Next_Instruction (see OmniMark). 

In this essay, we'll just assume that you are familiar with cracking because I won't give a lot of comments about all usual protections routines/tricks... that don't have anything to see with the dongle protection nor will I spend time to explain how to crack it when it will be quite obvious (most of the time).    

As said above, all programs cracked in this essay can be found and download on their companies homepages (see links below).    
You'll find plenty of dongle softs to download for free on the Net. Just learn how to search and you'll see what I mean. 

OK, now let's have some fun!

Tools required

Hiew 5.66 
SoftICE 3.22 
W32Dasm v6.x and W32Dasm8.5 
+IDA PRO v3.7 
A taste of Zen Cracking 

Target's URL/FTP

Targets' url: 

1) Micro-Cap V (Spectrum SoftWare) v2.01 900Kb 
2) Vision XL/XXL v2.0 (Impuls)  9.5Mb 
3) ABBCS31 v1.02  Klinkmann Automation Softs (DDE Servers)  420Kb 
4) WellCAD v2.30 : Full version  10.5Mb or Lite version 2.5Mb (similar but without help files and sample data files) 
5) Label Craft v6.01 (Axicon Softs)  1.2Mb 
6) Ai Damage v1.4 (Ai Training Services Ltd)  185Kb (requires the DK2 DESkey dongle drivers -dk2wn95.386, dk2win32.dll...- if not installed on your system, you can download them here: Bdk2wn32.exe 720Kb - read the essay for more infos-: ) 
7) Electro Chemistry 12 Nov.1997 version (Sycopel Scientific Ltd) 531Kb. 
8) IPLab v1.7  (Signal Analytics Corp.) 1.5Mb 
9) DigiSHOW.vld v1.24 1.59Mb 
A) Axon Engineer Pro v2.11e 2.09Mb 
B) FTI/DOE v. 2.78Mb 
C) S-Tagger for FrameMaker v2.0 1.32Mb 
D) XinTianMa C version 1.04Mb 
E) OmniMark V3R1a Win95 1.88Mb 

Program History

unknown except Micro-Cap V  which used, in the past, the Sentinel dongle. New version use the Hasp driver.


Micro-Cap V v2.10
Integrated schematic editor and mixed analog/digital simulator that provides an interactive sketch and simulate environment for electronics engineers.
Win95 / NT(?)
Dongle (parallel). Driver: Hasp95.vxd (c:\windows\system).
Does NOT run if no dongle detected.

Apparently, Micro-Cap V programmers are the only guys who understood that the dongle will not do all the job. They tried to add some improvements to the protection scheme:
-Fake flags (Bad or Good_Guy).
-Several flags hidden at different locations (using different registers).
-Delayed reactions (calling, checking and reacting routines).
-Mathematical expressions for checking the RetCodes (though they could improve this part).
-Several calls with different Seed Codes.

This is the first Hasp dongle of this essay. I hope you read Zafer's essay about the various hasp-dongle services because I will not explain this again. However, I will show you the main Hasp routine from Micro-Cap as it is just a little different from the one describe by Zafer, but it works just the same:

:0054141A 55           push ebp
:0054141B 89E5         mov ebp, esp
:0054141D 60           pushad
:0054141E 88C7         mov bh, al                  ; Service called
:00541420 52           push edx
:00541421 58           pop eax
:00541422 8B5508       mov edx, dword ptr [ebp+08]
:00541425 8B750C       mov esi, dword ptr [ebp+0C]
:00541428 8B3E         mov edi, dword ptr [esi]
:0054142A 80FF32       cmp bh, 32
:0054142D 7205         jb 00541434
:0054142F 8B7518       mov esi, dword ptr [ebp+18]
:00541432 8B06         mov eax, dword ptr [esi]
:00541434 8B7510       mov esi, dword ptr [ebp+10]
:00541437 8B36         mov esi, dword ptr [esi]
:00541439 55           push ebp
:0054143A E8B1D00000   call 0054E4F0               ; Haspreg
:0054143F 5D           pop ebp
:00541440 8B7D0C       mov edi, dword ptr [ebp+0C]
:00541443 8907         mov dword ptr [edi], eax    ; RetCode1
:00541445 8B7D10       mov edi, dword ptr [ebp+10]
:00541448 891F         mov dword ptr [edi], ebx    ; RetCode2
:0054144A 8B7D14       mov edi, dword ptr [ebp+14]
:0054144D 890F         mov dword ptr [edi], ecx    ; RetCode3
:0054144F 8B7D18       mov edi, dword ptr [ebp+18]
:00541452 8917         mov dword ptr [edi], edx    ; RetCode3
:00541454 61           popad
:00541455 5D           pop ebp
:00541456 C21400       ret 0014

We will rewrite this routine in order to emulate the dongle because there will be too may occurences to patch in this soft.

Running Micro-Cap will display the message box: 'Security Key missing. Replace the key'.
With SoftICE, Bpx the above routine and run Micro-Cap.

The first break occures here:

:00422C39 B801000000   mov eax, 00000001             ; Service#1
:00422C5B E8BAE71100   call 0054141A                 ; IsHasp
:00422C60 8B45F0       mov eax, dword ptr [ebp-10]   ; Store RetCode1 in EAX
:00422C63 89EC         mov esp, ebp
:00422C65 5D           pop ebp
:00422C66 5A           pop edx
:00422C67 59           pop ecx
:00422C68 5B           pop ebx
:00422C69 C3           ret
The caller:
:00422AEC E82F010000   call 00422C20
:00422AF1 85C0         test eax, eax                 ; Check if OK
:00422AF3 752D         jne 00422B22                  ; Good_Guy jump

Of course, the RetCode1 should be equal to 1.

The second break:

:00422E8D B805000000   mov eax, 00000005             ; Service#5
:00422E92 89542414     mov dword ptr [esp+14], edx
:00422E96 E87FE51100   call 0054141A                 ; HaspStatus
:00422E9B 8B442408     mov eax, dword ptr [esp+08]   ; Parallel Port # (RetCode3)
:00422E9F 8B7C2404     mov edi, dword ptr [esp+04]   ; Type of Hasp (Retcode2)
:00422EA3 A37CF65500   mov dword ptr [0055F67C], eax
:00422EA8 83FF01       cmp edi, 00000001             ; Is it a Memo-Hasp?
:00422EAB 740D         je 00422EBA
:00422EAD B8FCFFFFFF   mov eax, FFFFFFFC             ; Bad_Guy
:00422EB2 83C410       add esp, 00000010
:00422EB5 5F           pop edi
:00422EB6 5A           pop edx
:00422EB7 59           pop ecx
:00422EB8 5B           pop ebx
:00422EB9 C3           ret
* Referenced by a (C)onditional Jump at Address:00422EAB
:00422EBA 31C0         xor eax, eax                  ; Good_Guy
:00422EBC 83C410       add esp, 00000010
:00422EBF 5F           pop edi
:00422EC0 5A           pop edx
:00422EC1 59           pop ecx
:00422EC2 5B           pop ebx
:00422EC3 C3           ret

No surprises yet: after checking if there is a Hasp dongle connected, it checks its type (Memo-Hasp). It doesn't care if it is a Memo-Hasp-1 or a Memo-Hasp-4 as Retcode1 is not verified.

The 3rd break:

:00422C0E B802000000        mov eax, 00000002           ; Service#2
:00422C13 E802E81100        call 0054141A               ; HaspCode
:00422C18 5D                pop ebp
:00422C19 5F                pop edi
:00422C1A 5E                pop esi
:00422C1B C20400            ret 0004

The caller:
:00422B5B E864000000        call 00422BC4
:00422B60 8B1424            mov edx, dword ptr [esp]    ; Store RetCode1 in Edx
:00422B63 81EACA190000      sub edx, 000019CA           ; Edx-0x19CA
:00422B69 B905000000        mov ecx, 00000005
:00422B6E 89D0              mov eax, edx                ; Store in Eax
:00422B70 C1FA1F            sar edx, 1F
:00422B73 F7F9              idiv ecx                    ; Eax/5 and store result in Eax
:00422B75 3D982D0000        cmp eax, 00002D98           ; Is it correct?
:00422B7A 7405              je 00422B81                 ; jmp over if OK
:00422B7C BE01000000        mov esi, 00000001           ; Set Bad_Guy#1 Flag discreetly so that stupid
                                                        ; crackers will never find it!
:00422B81 817C24046DF60000  cmp dword ptr [esp+04],F66D ; Check RetCode2
:00422B89 0F8566FFFFFF      jne 00422AF5                ; Bad_Guy#2 jump
:00422B8F 817C24086CD60000  cmp dword ptr [esp+08],D66C ; Check RetCode3
:00422B97 0F8558FFFFFF      jne 00422AF5                ; Bad_Guy#2 jump
:00422B9D 817C240C973B0000  cmp dword ptr [esp+0C],3B97 ; Check RetCode4
:00422BA5 0F854AFFFFFF      jne 00422AF5                ; Bad_Guy#2 jump
:00422BAB EB80              jmp 00422B2D                ; JUMP if OK and make him believe everything
                                                        ; is fine...
:00422B2D 85F6              test esi, esi               ; ...and check Bad_Guy#1 Flag!
:00422B2F 7507              jne 00422B38                ; Bad_Guy_Jump.
RetCodes 2, 3 and 4 are displayed in the code (0xF66D, 0xD66C, 0x3B97). To check the RetCode1, the program uses simple mathematical expressions from offset 422B63 to offset 422B75.
Finding the RetCode1 value is simple.
We have:
0x2D98 = (RetCode1 - 0x19CA) / 5
RetCode1 = (0x2D98 * 5) + 0x19CA)
RetCode1 = 0xFDC2
You can see that if one of the 3 last RetCodes is wrong, it will clearly send you on the Bad_Guy#2.
But it will discreetly set the Bag_guy#1 flag (mov esi,1) if the first RetCode is wrong and will go ahead as if everything was fine before checking it later at offset 422B2F.

The 4th break:

This time, the program will read a block from the dongle, and check if no error occured (RetCode3)

:00422CE2 B832000000        mov eax, 00000032           ; Service#32
:00422CE7 31D2              xor edx, edx
:00422CE9 E82CE71100        call 0054141A               ; ReadBlock
:00422CEE 807D02EA          cmp byte ptr [ebp+02], EA   ; Check correct value
:00422CF2 741F              je 00422D13                 ; jmp if OK
:00422CF4 837D7A00          cmp dword ptr [ebp+7A], 0   ; Check RetCode3 (status Code)
:00422CF8 7519              jne 00422D13                ; jmp if NOT correct as well
:00422CFA B801000000        mov eax, 00000001           ; Bad_Guy flag  but make it looks
                                                        ; like a Good_Guy Flag!
:00422CFF 8DA582000000      lea esp, dword ptr [ebp+82]
:00422D0A C3                ret                         ; Back to caller
:00422D13 8B457A            mov eax, dword ptr [ebp+7A] ; store status code in Eax
:00422D16 8DA582000000      lea esp, dword ptr [ebp+82]
:00422D21 C3                ret                         ; Back to caller
:00422B22 E831030000        call 00422E58
:00422B27 89C6              mov esi, eax                ; store in esi as well
:00422B29 85C0              test eax, eax               ; Check if OK
:00422B2B 7418              je 00422B45                 ; je Good_Guy
:00422B2D 85F6              test esi, esi               ; Check again to confuse...
:00422B2F 7507              jne 00422B38                ; jne Bad_Guy
We could think that the mov eax,1 is our Good_Guy because right above, it checks the RetCode3 (equal to 0x0 if no error) and jump if an error was returned.
But it stores this RetCode into Eax (:422D13) and later will store it into Esi too, and will check both registers to see if it's OK. It is clear that, if the dongle was connected, the program should never reach offset :422CF4.
0xEA is probably a byte calculated somewhere depending on the dongle RetCode (it is not RetCode1, 2, 3 or 4).  To crack this will have to store 0xEa into ebp+2 and to ensure that the RetCode3 will be equal to 0x0.

Now, Micro-Cap V seems to work fine but it still check for the dongle depending on which key is pressed.

The 5th break:

Here, the program will check again Service#1 (IsHasp) but in another location.

The 6th break:

Now it calls again Service 2.

:00422C0E B802000000        mov eax, 00000002
:00422C13 E802E81100        call 0054141A
:00422C18 5D                pop ebp
:00422C19 5F                pop edi
:00422C1A 5E                pop esi
:00422C1B C20400            ret 0004

The Caller:
:00422D6A E855FEFFFF        call 00422BC4
:00422D6F 6681FE8203        cmp si, 0382
:00422D74 7527              jne 00422D9D
:00422D76 813C24C7710000    cmp dword ptr [esp], 000071C7
:00422D7D 75C8              jne 00422D47
:00422D7F 817C2404935B0000  cmp dword ptr [esp+04], 00005B93
:00422D87 75BE              jne 00422D47
:00422D89 817C2408E1BF0000  cmp dword ptr [esp+08], 0000BFE1
:00422D91 75B4              jne 00422D47
:00422D93 817C240C900D0000  cmp dword ptr [esp+0C], 00000D90
:00422D9B 75AA              jne 00422D47
:00422D9D 6681FEE486        cmp si, 86E4
:00422DA2 752B              jne 00422DCF
:00422DA4 813C248BF60000    cmp dword ptr [esp], 0000F68B
:00422DAB 759A              jne 00422D47
:00422DAD 817C2404D3B40000  cmp dword ptr [esp+04], 0000B4D3
:00422DB5 7590              jne 00422D47
:00422DB7 817C2408FE0E0000  cmp dword ptr [esp+08], 00000EFE
:00422DBF 7586              jne 00422D47
:00422DC1 817C240CD43F0000  cmp dword ptr [esp+0C], 00003FD4
:00422DC9 0F8578FFFFFF      jne 00422D47
:00422DCF 6681FE9907        cmp si, 0799
:00422DD4 7537              jne 00422E0D
:00422DD6 813C2411560000    cmp dword ptr [esp], 00005611
:00422DDD 0F8564FFFFFF      jne 00422D47
:00422DE3 817C2404BB6E0000  cmp dword ptr [esp+04], 00006EBB
:00422DEB 0F8556FFFFFF      jne 00422D47
:00422DF1 817C2408925C0000  cmp dword ptr [esp+08], 00005C92
:00422DF9 0F8548FFFFFF      jne 00422D47
:00422DFF 817C240C8EB60000  cmp dword ptr [esp+0C], 0000B68E
:00422E07 0F853AFFFFFF      jne 00422D47
:00422E0D 6681FE3E05        cmp si, 053E
:00422E12 7537              jne 00422E4B
:00422E14 813C24EB6F0000    cmp dword ptr [esp], 00006FEB
:00422E1B 0F8526FFFFFF      jne 00422D47
:00422E21 817C2404945D0000  cmp dword ptr [esp+04], 00005D94
:00422E29 0F8518FFFFFF      jne 00422D47
:00422E2F 817C24087D200000  cmp dword ptr [esp+08], 0000207D
:00422E37 0F850AFFFFFF      jne 00422D47
:00422E3D 817C240CCEAE0000  cmp dword ptr [esp+0C], 0000AECE
:00422E45 0F85FCFEFFFF      jne 00422D47
:00422E4B 31C0              xor eax, eax                      ; Good_Guy
:00422E4D 83C410            add esp, 00000010
:00422E50 5E                pop esi
:00422E51 5A                pop edx
:00422E52 59                pop ecx
:00422E53 5B                pop ebx
:00422E54 C3                ret
:00422D47 B8B13A0000        mov eax, 00003AB1                 ; Bad_Guy
:00422D4C 83C410            add esp, 00000010
:00422D4F 5E                pop esi
:00422D50 5A                pop edx
:00422D51 59                pop ecx
:00422D52 5B                pop ebx
:00422D53 C3                ret
Depending on the value of Esi ( 0x0382, 0x86E4, 0x0799 or 0x053E) the program will check for different RetCodes (they all are shown in the code) and if it's OK, will clear Eax (Good_Guy) otherwise will make you jump to offset :422D47.
If Esi has a different value (this shouldn't happen) the program will get to the Good_Guy as well.
To crack this, we will simply xor Ecx (on the stack as it is saved there before the call to the Hasp routine) during a call to Service 2 and therefore we will always reach our Good_Guy. Clearing Ecx will not affect the call to Service 2 I described before this one as it is unused (saved on the stack).

There is a last break when exiting the program:

The 7th break:

:00422F38 B806000000        mov eax, 00000006
:00422F3D EBDC              jmp 00422F1B
:00422F1B E8FAE41100        call 0054141A
:00422F20 8B45F8            mov eax, dword ptr [ebp-08]
:00422F23 85C0              test eax, eax
:00422F25 7418              je 00422F3F
Here, the program just check if any error occured. 
There are still few xrefs to the main Hasp routine (services 1, 6...) but it doesn't matter as we will 'emulate' the dongle and this will work for thoses xrefs as well. However, one of them is a call to service 0x29 (HaspID) at offset :422BF6 that apparently the program doesn't reach. We will not crack it.

As there's not enough room in the main Hasp routine to write our own one, we will do it mostly at offset :514E4F0 that is called by this routine:
All changes are shown in red:

.0514141A: 55               push   ebp
.0514141B: 89E5             mov    ebp,esp
.0514141D: 60               pushad
.0514141E: 88C7             mov    bh,al                 ; bh=Hasp Service called
.05141420: 80FF02           cmp    bh,02                 ; Is it Service#2 ?
.05141423: 0F8510000000     jne   .00141439              ; jump over if not
.05141429: 66C745240000     mov    w,[ebp][00024],00000  ; otherwise clear Esi
.0514142F: E905000000       jmp   .000141439             ; Go ahead
.05141434: 8B7510           mov    esi,[ebp][00010]      ; unused
.05141437: 8B36             mov    esi,[esi]             ; unused
.05141439: 55               push   ebp                   ; back to original code
.0514143A: E8B1D00000       call  .00514E4F0             ; call our new routine
.0514143F: 5D               pop    ebp
.05141440: 8B7D0C           mov    edi,[ebp][0000C]
.05141443: 8907             mov    [edi],eax             ; RetCode1
.05141445: 8B7D10           mov    edi,[ebp][00010]
.05141448: 891F             mov    [edi],ebx             ; RetCode2
.0514144A: 8B7D14           mov    edi,[ebp][00014]
.0514144D: 890F             mov    [edi],ecx             ; RetCode3
.0514144F: 8B7D18           mov    edi,[ebp][00018]
.05141452: 8917             mov    [edi],edx             ; RetCode4

.0514E4F0: 80FF01           cmp    bh,001                 ; Is it Service#1 ?
.0514E4F3: 7505             jne   .00014E4FA
.0514E4F5: B801000000       mov    eax,000000001          ; RetCode1
.0514E4FA: 80FF02           cmp    bh,002                 ; Is it Service#2 ?
.0514E4FD: 7519             jne   .00014E518
.0514E4FF: B8C2FD0000       mov    eax,00000FDC2          ; RetCode1
.0514E504: BB6DF60000       mov    ebx,00000F66D          ; RetCode2
.0514E509: B96CD60000       mov    ecx,00000D66C          ; RetCode3 
.0514E50E: BA973B0000       mov    edx,000003B97          ; RetCode4 
.0514E513: E925000000       jmp   .00014E53D
.0514E518: 80FF05           cmp    bh,005                 ; Is it Service#5 ?
.0514E51B: 750C             jne   .00014E529
.0514E51D: BB01000000       mov    ebx,000000001          ; RetCode2 
.0514E522: B901000000       mov    ecx,000000001          ; RetCode3 
.0514E527: EB14             jmps  .00014E53D
.0514E529: 80FF06           cmp    bh,006                 ; Is it Service#6 ?
.0514E52C: 740D             je    .00014E53B
.0514E52E: 80FF32           cmp    bh,032                 ; Is it Service#32 ?
.0514E531: 0F8504000000     jne   .00014E53B
.0514E537: C6451CEA         mov    b,[ebp][0001C],0EA     ; store our 0xEA
.0514E53B: 33C9             xor    ecx,ecx                ; clear RetCode3 (NO error)
.0514E53D: C3               retn                          ; back to Hasp main routine
.0514E53E: 8D3534FC5600     lea    esi,[00056FC34]        ; will never reach this part.
Everything works quite well but it may be safer not to forget the call to Service 0x29 that we didn't patch, just in case the program would reach it one of these days... 

Vision XL/XXL v2.0
High performance image processing and image analysis system.
Dongle (parallel or serial key). Driver: Hardlock.vxd (c:\windows\system).
Run as a DEMO if no dongle detected (Save, save as, copy disabled, macros disabled after 30 program runs...).

Described as "seeing the invisible", this is a very sophisticated and extremely expensive soft. For those reasons, we could only expect a strong or at least, a good protection. Unfortunately, its protection is really stupid, and then, the most amazing is that we won't even have to care about the dongle to crack it!

During its installation, the program added the file Hardlock.vxd and told us that we need to restart Windows before running it (to load the dongle driver!).

Put a BPIO -H 378 with SoftICE and then run VisionXXL.
Nothing happens!  The program doesn't seem to check the parallel port. 

After a quick check at the huge documentation (25Mb is MS-Word format!), I found this:
"The security key can be reversed to be used on a serial interface port...".
I read that there are some lines to add to your Autoexec.bat as well (SET HL_SEARCH=2f8s,...where 2f8 denotes the IO address of the serial port,and s denotes the serial port. The ellipsis ... is used to indicate that you can check several ports one after the other.).

OK, but let's just forget the dongle for now!
Re-run the program. You'll get the big nagscreen/bitmap telling you that the program is running in demo mode.
As the "Save" feature is disabled, press it in the target's toolbar. The following message box pops up:
"Sorry, this function is not available in demo mode"
Put a BPX MessageBoxA and press "Save" again.
SoftICE pops. Press <F11>, click 'OK' and press <F12> 3 times. You'll land here:

.000CA432: E899820600     call  .0001326D0        ; Check if Full or Demo mode
.000CA437: 85C0           test   eax,eax
.000CA439: 740A           je    .0000CA445        ; Good_Guy_Jump
.000CA43B: E840EBF4FF     call  .000018F80        ; Our MessageBoxA
.000CA440: E975040000     jmp   .0000CA8BA        ; Bad_Guy_Exit
.000CA445: E8127D0B00     call  .00018215C        ; Good_Guy_Go_Ahead

Those who are familiar with "disabled features" cracking won't need to read my comments to understand this: this is a stupid typical protection used so much often for this kind of program.
Let's have a look at the .0001326D0 routine:

001326D0: 8B81E8000000    mov    eax,[ecx][0000000E8]
001326D6: 85C0            test   eax,eax
001326D8: 740D            je    .0001326E7 
001326DA: 8B4804          mov    ecx,[eax][00004]
001326DD: 85C9            test   ecx,ecx
001326DF: 7406            je    .0001326E7 
001326E1: B801000000      mov    eax,000000001    ; Bad_Guy_Flag
001326E6: C3              retn
001326E7: 33C0            xor    eax,eax          ; Good_Guy_Flag
001326E9: C3              retn

This routine is called as soon as you run the program (to decide if it's a Demo or full working version) and each time you'll press or try to use one of the disabled features.
Obviously, patching the first test eax,eax or changing the mov eax,1 will be enough to crack this dongle protection.


ABBCS31 v1.02
DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) Server allowing other Windows application programs to access the data from the ABB Procontic CS31 automation system.
Dongle (parallel key). Driver: Hasp95.vxd (c:\windows\system).
Run as a time-limited DEMO if no dongle detected (will only run 1 hour).

At the end of the installation setup, we get a "reboot to activate HASP driver!" message. So we know where we are and where we going! The program added the file C:\Windows\System\Hasp95.vxd and the following line in the Registry: 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\HASP95'.

With HIEW5.66, we can quickly find the Hasp main routine located in the Abbcs31.exe file (193Kb). 
It starts at offset :00001AC9. Now we can BPX it with SoftICE (don't forget to add 0x400000 to the offset from Hiew to SoftICE ):
   BPX 401AC9

Running ABBCS32, we'll get 3 breaks. Callers are:

Here is the code (again from Hiew):

.00001C97: A1C40A4200            mov    eax,[000420AC4]     ; eax=0x05
.00001C9C: 50                    push   eax
.00001C9D: E827FEFFFF            call  .000001AC9           ; Hasp routine service #5
.00001CA2: 83C424                add    esp,024 
.00001CA5: 8B45CC                mov    eax,[ebp][-0034]
.00001CA8: A3A0204200            mov    [0004220A0],eax
.00001CAD: 837DD000              cmp    d,[ebp][-0030],0    ; Is it a Hasp-3 (RetCode2=0)?
.00001CB1: 0F850C000000          jne   .000001CC3 
.00001CB7: C745C401000000        mov    d,[ebp][-003C],1    ; Yes: Good_Guy_Flag
.00001CBE: E907000000            jmp   .000001CCA 
.00001CC3: C745C400000000        mov    d,[ebp][-003C],0    ; Bad_Guy_Flag
.00001CCA: 837DC400              cmp    d,[ebp][-003C],0    ; Is it OK?
.00001CCE: 0F8446000000          je    .000001D1A           ; No, send_Him_Away...
.00001CD4: C705C40A420001000000  mov    d,[000420AC4],1     ; otherwise Go_Ahead
.00001D06: A1C40A4200            mov    eax,[000420AC4]     ; eax=0x01
.00001D0B: 50                    push   eax
.00001D0C: E8B8FDFFFF            call  .000001AC9           ; Hasp routine service #1
.00001D11: 83C424                add    esp,024 
.00001D14: 8B45D4                mov    eax,[ebp][-002C]
.00001D17: 8945C4                mov    [ebp][-003C],eax
.00001D1A: 837DC400              cmp    d,[ebp][-003C],0    ; Is it a Hasp Dongle (RetCode1=1)?
.00001D1E: 0F84E7000000          je    .000001E0B           ; Bad_Guy_Jump...
.00001D24: C705C40A420002000000  mov    d,[000420AC4],2     ; otherwise Go_Ahead
.00001D84: A1C40A4200            mov    eax,[000420AC4]     ; eax=0x02
.00001D89: 50                    push   eax
.00001D8A: E83AFDFFFF            call  .000001AC9           ; Hasp routine service #2 
.00001D8F: 83C424                add    esp,024 
.00001D92: C705C00A420000000000  mov    d,[000420AC0],0
.00001D9C: A1AC204200            mov    eax,[0004220AC]
.00001DA1: C1E004                shl    eax,004
.00001DA4: 8B4DD4                mov    ecx,[ebp][-002C]
.00001DA7: 398818204200          cmp    [eax][000422018],ecx; Is RetCode1=0x7A17 ?
.00001DAD: 0F8551000000          jne   .000001E04           ; Bad_Guy_Jump
.00001DB3: A1AC204200            mov    eax,[0004220AC]
.00001DB8: C1E004                shl    eax,004
.00001DBB: 8B4DD0                mov    ecx,[ebp][-0030]
.00001DBE: 39881C204200          cmp    [eax][00042201C],ecx; Is RetCode2=0x768A ?
.00001DC4: 0F853A000000          jne   .000001E04           ; Bad_Guy_Jump 
.00001DCA: A1AC204200            mov    eax,[0004220AC]
.00001DCF: C1E004                shl    eax,004
.00001DD2: 8B4DCC                mov    ecx,[ebp][-0034]
.00001DD5: 398820204200          cmp    [eax][000422020],ecx; Is RetCode3=0x554C ?
.00001DDB: 0F8523000000          jne   .000001E04           ; Bad_Guy_Jump 
.00001DE1: A1AC204200            mov    eax,[0004220AC]
.00001DE6: C1E004                shl    eax,004
.00001DE9: 8B4DC8                mov    ecx,[ebp][-0038]
.00001DEC: 398824204200          cmp    [eax][000422024],ecx; Is RetCode4=0xE6EB ?
.00001DF2: 0F850C000000          jne   .000001E04           ; Bad_Guy_Jump 
.00001DF8: C745C401000000        mov    d,[ebp][-003C],1    ; Good_Guy_Flag
.00001DFF: E907000000            jmp   .000001E0B 
.00001E04: C745C400000000        mov    d,[ebp][-003C],0    ; Bad_Guy_Flag
.00001E0B: 837DC400              cmp    d,[ebp][-003C],0
.00001E0F: 0F8515000000          jne   .000001E2A           ; Dongle_OK
.00001E15: 837DC002              cmp    d,[ebp][-0040],2    ; No_Dongle

This routine is INCREDIBLY STUPID!!
As I said at the very beginning of this essay, the programmer just forgot to read the Hasp documentation shipped with his dongle:
Usually, you first check if there is a Hasp dongle connected to the parallel port (Service #1) and then, if there is one, the type of Hasp (Service #5).
We can see here that the program check the type of Hasp before verifying if there is a dongle connected.
And so?
The only problem is that we can see that ABBCS32 is expecting a Hasp-3 dongle (RetCode2=0). But, after a call to Service #5, if you don't have any dongle connected the RetCode2 will be equal to... 0x00 as well!
This just means that if you have the correct dongle or nothing at all, the program will just assume that you have the right Hasp-3! Unbelievable...
Fortunately, it checks Service #1 later.

There are a lot of different ways to crack this crap (patching the Bad_Guy_Flag...) but let's emulate the dongle by reverse engineering the main Hasp routine again:
Offsets changed are shown in red :

.00001AC9: 55         push   ebp 
.00001ACA: 8BEC       mov    ebp,esp 
.00001ACC: 50         push   eax 
.00001ACD: 53         push   ebx 
.00001ACE: 51         push   ecx 
.00001ACF: 52         push   edx 
.00001AD0: 57         push   edi 
.00001AD1: 56         push   esi 
.00001AD2: 8B751C     mov    esi,[ebp][0001C] 
.00001AD5: 8B3E       mov    edi,[esi] 
.00001AD7: B900000000 mov    ecx,000000000     ; Clear ecx.
.00001ADC: 8B5D08     mov    ebx,[ebp][00008]  ; bl=Service called.
.00001ADF: 80FB02     cmp    bl,002            ; Is it Service #2?
.00001AE2: 7512       jne   .000001AF6 
.00001AE4: 66B8177A   mov    ax,07A17          ; correct RetCode#1
.00001AE8: 66BB8A76   mov    bx,0768A          ; correct RetCode#2
.00001AEC: 66B94C55   mov    cx,0554C          ; correct RetCode#3 
.00001AF0: 66BAEBE6   mov    dx,0E6EB          ; correct RetCode#4  
.00001AF4: EB0F       jmps  .000001B05 
.00001AF6: 80FB01     cmp    bl,001            ; Is it Service #1?
.00001AF9: 7506       jne   .000001B01 
.00001AFB: 66B80100   mov    ax,00001          ; correct RetCode#1 
.00001AFF: EB04       jmps  .000001B05 
.00001B01: 33DB       xor    ebx,ebx           ; Xor unused registers
.00001B03: 33C0       xor    eax,eax           ; just in case.
.00001B05: 8B7D1C     mov    edi,[ebp][0001C]  ; Back to original code.
.00001B08: 8907       mov    [edi],eax 
.00001B0A: 8B7D20     mov    edi,[ebp][00020] 
.00001B0D: 891F       mov    [edi],ebx 
.00001B0F: 8B7D24     mov    edi,[ebp][00024] 
.00001B12: 890F       mov    [edi],ecx 
.00001B14: 8B7D28     mov    edi,[ebp][00028] 
.00001B17: 8917       mov    [edi],edx 
.00001B19: 5E         pop    esi 
.00001B1A: 5F         pop    edi 
.00001B1B: 5A         pop    edx 
.00001B1C: 59         pop    ecx 
.00001B1D: 5B         pop    ebx 
.00001B1E: 58         pop    eax 
.00001B1F: 5D         pop    ebp 
.00001B20: C3         retn 
Abbcs31 is cracked.

WellCAD v2.30
Data repository, geophysical and geological reporting tool.
Dongle (parallel key). Driver: Hasp95.vxd
Does NOT run if no dongle detected.

Searching for the main Hasp routine, we easily find it at offset :44D528 in the main program (wellcad.exe 1.42Mb). It has 2 X-refs and then, the 14 X-refs (called several times) calling the Hasp services.
Here are two of them:

:0049ECFE 6A01              push 00000001                 ; Service #1 
:0049ED00 E87B080000        call 0049F580                 ; Is_It_A_Hasp_Dongle ?
:0049ED05 8B442408          mov eax, dword ptr [esp+08] 
:0049ED09 8D4C2410          lea ecx, dword ptr [esp+10] 
:0049ED0D 48                dec eax 
:0049ED0E 8D54240C          lea edx, dword ptr [esp+0C] 
:0049ED12 83F801            cmp eax, 00000001 
:0049ED15 8D442414          lea eax, dword ptr [esp+14] 
:0049ED19 1BFF              sbb edi, edi 
:0049ED1B 50                push eax 
:0049ED1C 8D44240C          lea eax, dword ptr [esp+0C] 
:0049ED20 51                push ecx 
:0049ED21 52                push edx 
:0049ED22 8BCE              mov ecx, esi 
:0049ED24 F7DF              neg edi 
:0049ED26 50                push eax 
:0049ED27 6868200000        push 00002068 
:0049ED2C 6A02              push 00000002                   ; Service # 2 
:0049ED2E E84D080000        call 0049F580                   ; Get_Hasp_Code  
:0049ED33 817C2408A5F70000  cmp dword ptr [esp+08], 0000F7A5;Is RetCode1 OK ?
:0049ED3B 7529              jne 0049ED66                    ; Bad_Guy jump
:0049ED3D 817C240C8E420000  cmp dword ptr [esp+0C], 0000428E;Is RetCode2 OK ? 
:0049ED45 751F              jne 0049ED66                    ; Bad_Guy jump
:0049ED47 817C2410E54F0000  cmp dword ptr [esp+10], 00004FE5;Is RetCode3 OK ? 
:0049ED4F 7515              jne 0049ED66                    ; Bad_guy jump
:0049ED51 817C24144E470000  cmp dword ptr [esp+14], 0000474E;Is RetCode4 OK ? 
:0049ED59 750B              jne 0049ED66                    ; Bad_Guy jump
:0049ED5B 83E701            and edi, 00000001 
:0049ED5E 8BC7              mov eax, edi                    ; Set Good_Guy flag (eax=0x01)
:0049ED60 5F                pop edi 
:0049ED61 5E                pop esi 
:0049ED62 83C410            add esp, 00000010 
:0049ED65 C3                ret 

* Referenced by a (C)onditional:0049ED3B(C), :0049ED45(C), :0049ED4F(C), :0049ED59(C) 
:0049ED66 33FF              xor edi, edi 
:0049ED68 8BC7              mov eax, edi                    ; Bad_Guy (clear eax)
:0049ED6A 5F                pop edi 
:0049ED6B 5E                pop esi 
:0049ED6C 83C410            add esp, 00000010 
:0049ED6F C3                ret 
 Let's crack it:
:0049ED66 66B80100          mov    ax,00001

Now if you run the program, it will ask you for your name and company name to type in. Then, it will take about 12 seconds on a P233 before WellCAD main window appears on your screen. Let's solve this problem.
As there a too many checks and comparisons occuring even before the calls to the dongle, with SoftICE, BPX the main Hasp routine (:44D528) and try to find some interesting cross references that we'll lead us to the fatal(s) jnz_Bad_Guy.
Without any problem, we find several of them but only 2 seem very interesting:

:004C01E7 E8684A0200        MFC40.MFC40:NoName0713
:004C01EC 8D8BC8000000      lea ecx, dword ptr [ebx+000000C8]
:004C01F2 E829E6FDFF        call 0049E820                    ; Verify_Dongle  (+ Misc routines)
:004C01F7 85C0              test eax, eax                    ; Is_Dongle_OK ?
:004C01F9 0F8455FDFFFF      je 004BFF54                      ; Bad_Guy jump
:004C01FF 68C8030000        push 000003C8                    ; Good_Guy go ahead
:004C025F E8E4490200        MFC40.MFC40:NoName0711
:004C0264 8D8BC8000000      lea ecx, dword ptr [ebx+000000C8]
:004C026A E881F0FDFF        call 0049F2F0                    ; Verify_Dongle  (+ Misc routines)
:004C026F 85C0              test eax, eax                    ; Is_Dongle_OK ?
:004C0271 0F84DDFCFFFF      je 004BFF54                      ; Bad_Guy jump
:004C0277 8D4DC8            lea ecx, dword ptr [ebp-38]      ; Good_Guy go ahead

Just get rid of the two Verify_Dongle calls and replace them with mov eax,1

This will considerabely speed up the program (just 1 little second to start) and the crack is done. 
OK, it seems very easy to crack but it takes longer that you may think. The protection is not too bad: a lot of calls to sub-routines that will call other sub-routines etc.. and then comparisons in one of them with the conditional jump in another one... It may fool or confuse you during a Live approach, but could not resist a good Dead listing.

End of first part
I want the second part