(Recent thoughts of a reverser ~ September 1998 ~ Add-on: May 1999)
From software cracking towards a "reversing lab"

[My radical plans] [Selected Answers & Comments]

My radical plans

crossing over
Added in May 1999
Fravia's thoughts (April-May 1999)
OK, so I have taken some decisions during the long (forced) interruption of my on-line presence due to the syn-attacks against my fortress.

Software cracking
No more 'targeted' software cracking articles or essays, i.e., nothing more that could economically damage a given programmer. The 'software cracking' (historical) part of my 'frozen' old site will still be there, unless someone should legitimately ask me to remove any specific older essay. In that case I will most probably comply and remove it.
From now on I'll publish only 'target unrelated', 'concealed activities' and 'older protections' software cracking articles.

Reality cracking
Will be intensified.

How to search
Will be intensified.

Anonymity matters
Will be intensified.

I'll also start a new section: screaming truth
All this is just at the beginning, please bear with this confusion for a couple of weeks.
The following was written in september 1998
The section of my site about reversing software protections is about to change radically

In nuce: I will not accept nor write any more useless "software deprotection" essays, I'll publish (and try to write myself) essays about software reverse engineering.. If you already had a look at my site, and at the published essays you'll understand what I mean, else go ahead, explore my site and come back later.

The development of our techniques, approaches and global understanding has been huge. We don't need any more to crack software protections ourself, it's time we move over to real software reversing... we need the software protection cracking (as we always did) only as a 'lure' to get young talented people on a "reversing path", a road that will transform them into good programmers, intelligent users, clever minds that will never again be obfuscated by frills and useless trends, real humans that will work in order to achieve whatever their own (and not somebody else's) wishes are.
Ok, ok, ok: These words -I know- sound kinda funny: "so we'll transform people in order to avoid that they get transformed" sounds quite scary... contradictory to say the least. Yet people that learn how to reverse (software schemes and rhetorical patterns as well) will be able to easily reverse this very writing, and act consequently (note that this holds true whichever reversing path they'll later take, white, red or black), so they'll be much more "safe" against all kind of tricks -once for all- and that's exactly what I believe is important.
Besides Master +ORC himself wrote a long time ago the following: coz people do not want to learn to be free, and to free them we have sadly to "circumvent" them with more or less the same techniques that our enemies use to enslave them :=). And I disagree: we may recur to using 'enroll techniques' yet we have to use, IMO, different ones: our techniques must be transparent and proudly show their 'inner working'. They'll be nevertheless as strong as our enemy ones (or even stronger :-) yet they'll always be "on the side of the light" and -an added bonus- those that want to enslave other people will never be able to use them (knwoledge and transparence are like sun or garlic against all sort of vampires, commercial oriented bastards cannot even touch them without getting blisters everywhere :-) crossing over
This said we should anyway, I believe, reduce the "how I cracked this last version of this target software" essays, because that IS NOT important at all. Besides, I'm fed up with all the little lusers using the knowledge they learn on sites like mine in order to produce serial number keygenerators or ready made cracks for the zombies instead to grow up and cut the guts out of the real dangerous snooping M$ (or whatever) applications that syphon our own data from our own computers. The point of what I am doing is to (try to) teach people how to understand, control or modify ANY aspect of their software whenever they fancy, NOT to damage software programmers for the sake of it.
After so many years 'in the scene' I don't feel any more that what we are doing in this field is really useful to grow up people unless we change our approach.

I have thought a little about it, and see some different possible solutions, as usual I'll await your input before proceeding:

1) Completely close the section about reversing software protection schemes, accepting only essays about "non protection-related" code reversing (and "compiler specifities" reversing); as you know I reckon these kind of papers to be the most interesting, together with the essays about 'adding functionalities' to a target and about 'hidden activities' of a target... like for instance to investigate the concealed connections to a web site of a target in order to deliver, without your permission, all sort of personal data found on your harddisk... cfr many recent Micro$oft's applications... besides it is Web-evident that in the reversing scene some good work on "compared compilology" is sorely missing).
This solution would de facto transform the 'software cracking' section in a full fledged 'software investigation' lab and would not have anything to do anymore with software deprotection per se.

crossing over 2) Limit the section about reversing software protection schemes only to outstanding essays dealing with new forms of protection schemes, and eliminating at the same time all references to any "specific" target, in this way "real" reversers would be able to see and understand the code (and grasp the protection scheme used by the unknown target), yet lusers would not be able to guess which program or application is the essay referring to.
This solution would transform the section into a "software deprotection and protection lab" very useful for protectors and reversers that would NOT damage the software programmers.

3) Publish in that section only essays about protection schemes of "older versions" of a specific target, i.e.: versions that are NO MORE IN USE (or DOS programs).
This solution would transform the section into a sort of "history of the software protection" lab, useful for protectors and reversers alike that would NOT damage the software programmers.

Of course anyone unhappy with this changement of mine can quickly join one of the good main crackers groups, like Phrozen Crew, UCF or Mexelite, where he will find many outstanding crackers, able to teach him everything he needs in order to produce a zillion of keygenerators and patches for the never ending last versions of any application. Farewell.

And of course those that only wish to steal software don't need at all to study anything at all, nor to follow any of the threads above: they will be able to find any serial number or patch they may need (in fact every application or game they may want to steal) on the billions of warez sites.

crossing overSomehow I feel my site should follow a new path, I feel that we should indeed bring knowledge to the masses, but that it is a mistake to lean too much on their petty, selfish interest. If someone has the will, he will still find on my site anything he needs -always for free, don't underestimate this aspect- to learn and to 'go beyond', yet I feel we must shut out all those (and believe me, there are quite many of them) that are only faking a vague interest for knowledge in order to transform everything they learn into personal gain (the surest way, IMHO, to negate knowledge).

I'll change my pages quite radically during the next months: I intend to cut a lot and create a smaller, yet I hope quite interesting, new 'Fravia', that I would like to subdivide in 'labs':

Of course the help and contributions of all my readers (and +friends) are welcome. In the mean time: enjoy the last days of the old Fravia's site... I'm boldly crossing towards new shores on the deep deep sea of our Web.

Answers & Comments

(Some dafür and some dagegen... OK, I have published nere only a small part, a "choice" from all your contributions, yet I thank all those that have given me advice... Believe me: I'm taking note of everything you have written)

I will not comment these contributions. It is not necessary, because I believe that the correct path will become clear "all by itself", as it always happens when people work together and contribute. Just read the ones I have published (only if you'r interested of course) and I'm sure you'll understand what I mean. As usual on this web of ours, light, truth, insights and powerful solution proposals come from cooperation, friendship, and from sound contributions offered by people you have never met in your life...

+Mammon's contribution
+Greythorne's contribution
ph0t0n's contribution
+Frog's Print's contribution
Joa's contribution
prophecy's contribution
ZerO+'s contribution
Caprine's contribution
Halvar's contribution
LeonardoDaVinci's contribution
Freeman's contribution
Goth's contribution
The Lighthouse Keeper's one
Cimerra's one
Andre's one
+Malattia's one
Pantheon's one
+Snikkel's one
Benzedrin's one
eidan yoson's one
_Infinidim 's one

OK friends, thanks a lot once more, I think it's enough... now watch my site and judge: all readers will see the result of my considerations (based on the above, of course) during the next months

there's now also a message board for all people hanging around at fravia's

While attending the Olympic games, Leon, prince of Phlius, asked Pythagoras how he would describe himself. Pythagoras replied, 'I am a philosopher', but Leon had never heard that word before and asked him to explain.
"Life, prince Leon, may well be compared with these public games for in the vast 
crowd assembled here  some are attracted by the acquisition of gain,  others are 
led on by the hopes and ambitions of fame and glory.  But among them there are a 
few who have come to observe and to understand all that passes here."


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