Denuvo Martyrs Voksi Using Bulgarian Police In What Will Surely Be The End Of Denuvo's Troubles

from the just one guy dept

In our ongoing coverage of Denuvo, the DRM once thought unbeatable that since has been very much beaten in record timelines, one internet handle wove a common weave through most of those stories: Voksi. Voksi, a singular human being, had done much of the work that had brought Denuvo to its knees. In fact, we recently wrote a post about how illuminating it should be when corporate DRM makers with the kind of financial backing of Denuvo could be brought down essentially by one guy with a grudge. The lesson there was if that was the state of things, it was a clear sign that Denuvo’s entire business was on shaky, unsustainable grounds.

Denuvo appears to have taken the opposite lesson instead, believing apparently that this one grudge-haver was something of a single point of failure in the anti-Denuvo realm. To that end, Denuvo has recently, and quite gleefully, announced that it worked with Bulgarian police forces to arrest Voksi and seize his equipment.

Denuvo said that Voksi’s arrest came about through the dual efforts of Denuvo parent company Irdeto and the Bulgarian Cybercrime Unit. “The swift action of the Bulgarian police on this matter shows the power of collaboration between law enforcement and technology providers and that piracy is a serious offence that will be acted upon,” said Irdeto VP of cybersecurity services Mark Mulready.

Denuvo’s statement also included a quote from the Bulgarian Cybercrime Unit, which said: “We can confirm that a 21-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of offenses related to cybercrime and that computing equipment was confiscated. Our investigations are ongoing.”

Voksi himself announced his arrest on Reddit.

In a post today on CrackWatch, a subreddit dedicated to removing DRM and other copy protection software from games, Voksi explained the sudden outage of the website of his hacker group, REVOLT. Yesterday, he got arrested, and the police raided his house.

“It finally happened,” Voksi wrote. “I can’t say it wasn’t expected. Denuvo filed a case against me to the Bulgarian authorities. Police came yesterday and took the server PC and my personal PC. I had to go to the police afterwards and explain myself.”

It seems likely that the folks in Denuvos executive offices are popping champaigne bottles. They shouldn’t be. Sure, the company certainly can go after this one lone hacker with a grudge against its software. The real question is whether this will solve Denuvo’s problems. It won’t. Not by a long shot.

The reason for that is first and foremost that Voksi has been quite good at communicating with the public as to his motivations, and their are something akin to internet populism.

Voksi declined to reply when reached for comment by Kotaku, but on Reddit he lamented that this Denuvo-cracking days are almost certainly behind him. “Sadly, I won’t be able to do what I did anymore,” he said. “I did what I did for you guys and of course because bloated software in our games shouldn’t be allowed at all. Maybe someone else can continue my fight.”

If that reads like the statement of a martyr, it’s because that is exactly what Denuvo has created in Voksi. Does anyone really doubt that others will take up his efforts? And in more numbers than when it was just one lone guy with a grudge? Who out there wants to predict that, on the long timeline, the forthcoming headlines will now be all about how Denuvo iterations are secure and impenetrable once more?

In a world where one guy caused all this chaos that led to his arrest, it should be obvious that any such prediction would be laughable. So what has Denuvo achieved in any of this? Anything at all?

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Comments on “Denuvo Martyrs Voksi Using Bulgarian Police In What Will Surely Be The End Of Denuvo's Troubles”

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70 Comments
Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

SPLAT? Maybe, but if one happens, it’ll be from all the supporters he’s amassed cushioning his descent. Or the bodies of all the little people he’s trampled to get to where he is.

The 2008 financial crisis ended with those responsible being given a slap on the wrist with a wet noodle; the actual blame having been funneled to the kids who protested in Wall Street.

It’s going to get a lot worse and the systems are already in place to make sure it never gets better. Not without mutually assured destruction.

Uriel-238says:

Karma

Karma is more of a group social thing. For monarchs, rulers like Trump were a much more common thing, since all too commonly royal heirs were dicks, and assassination was kinda hard.

The whole election thing started as an effort to get away from all that. Only we didn’t commit. Not everyone was given equal rights, and big money chose the nominees.

As a result, all our elected officials (even the Democrats) are beholden to big money. We never really had a democracy that served the public.

Trump is the end result, and so its a good time to be worried about the old-school democrats trying to undermine the new democrats, which they are, since they’re a threat to the Good Life.

So we can expect more Trumps. Worse Trumps. Trumps better at routing out dissenters and circumventing checks and balances.

Unless we unify to change it. That’s how Karma works.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

It’s also a pretty safe bet they don’t care that they have garnered hate from so many people in the first place.

Why should they? We’re not their customers.

The game companies that pay Denuvo are directly funding and giving moral support to Voksi’s arrest. They should be getting a lot of blowback from that, and not just in the "I’m not going to give you money until Voksi cracks it" sense. I refuse to buy from companies that treat copying as wrong, because, inevitably, this is where we always end up.

TKnarrsays:

Re:

Remember that their plan isn’t to protect their DRM against cracking. It’s to protect their ability to sell their DRM to game companies. I’d even bet that their financial people see the DRM being cracked as a revenue opportunity: version N of it being cracked means the game companies have to shift to version N+1, which being a major version upgrade requires buying a new license.

Anonymoussays:

Where will we find another person with the decades of experience that are necessary to crack Denuvo’s copy protection now? Surely there isn’t a fundamental flaw with DRM that requires at some point for the data to be decrypted in order for it to be used, meaning that any bright individual with the right tools and technical acumen can see what is happening and work around it.

No, it’s the children who are wrong.

That One Guysays:

'You took off his head? Well that's step one, what bout 2-10?'

?I did what I did for you guys and of course because bloated software in our games shouldn?t be allowed at all. Maybe someone else can continue my fight.?

‘Can’? Yeah, after taking out what I’m guessing is a pretty well known and respected figure in the malware cracking community I suspect that a good number of people will be downright eager to take up the torch, whether in his memory, to stick it to Denuvo, or both.

Rekrulsays:

I can’t run current games, so I haven’t really been following cracking news too much, but I got the impression that he was the only one cracking the latest Denuvo infected games. If there’s one thing I know about the pirate groups, it’s that they love to brag "FIRST!!!" Which makes me wonder, have any other groups or people besides Voksi been releasing cracks for Denuvo games?

Denuvo was once thought to be uncrackable, then a couple groups cracked a few games. Voksi was the only one I heard about who was easily cracking the games in a short period of time. If he hasn’t shared his method, it may be some time before someone else figures it out.

Then you have all the half-assed cracks that others have put out, with instructions like;

Install the game, run the crack, disconnect your internet and start the game, but then immediately quit it, replace XDelta.dll with the one from the archive, then edit GAME.INI and change the line Vpod=7 to Vpod=0, then use our loader to run the game. Note that the game will crash at the end of level 7, so you’ll need to use the included save file to start on level 8, or use the level skip cheat.

That One Guysays:

Re:

Denuvo was once thought to be uncrackable, then a couple groups cracked a few games. Voksi was the only one I heard about who was easily cracking the games in a short period of time. If he hasn’t shared his method, it may be some time before someone else figures it out.

Or as cracking groups would likely put it, ‘That sounds like a challenge to us!’

Sinnermansays:

Re: Rekrul

Voksi didn’t actually crack Denuvo, he used a bypass of sorts. The bypass he used involved getting the rook kernel of the user’s PC. Voksi was trusted. Others would not be, so this particular strategy could not be employed. Tha’s not to say someone couldn’t build on his work and actually crack Denuvo, but his method is not one the scene would use.

Rekrulsays:

Re:

Based on Voksi’s investigations, Puyo Puyo Tetris occupies a total of 128MB in data – out of which only roughly 5 to 6 MB is game code. The rest is bloatware masquerading as protection.

The future is purchasing games where only 4% of a game is actually the game itself.

Several years ago, I had a small utility program for Win98 that was only about 50K. When I moved to XP, I wanted a similar program. I found that someone had ported the original program to XP using .NET. That version of the program was 500K. Which may not sound like much in the scheme of things, but using .NET increased the program size 10x. The original author finally ported his program, without using .NET and the resulting program was only 43K.

Anonymoussays:

Recent low on Zombies, but "Mike Read" out after nearly year.

8 year old account averaging not quite 3 comments per year; 35 month gap after several in May 2010, sparse since, now down to one per year.

ODD "accounts" ya got here, Masnick. Loyal enough to keep password for 8 years, but not very interested in the site, ignore it for years at a time!

And as always, the ODD "accounts" are most likely to pop out in Timmy’s stories.

Tim Rsays:

Dr. Raymond Stantz: Gozer the Gozerian… good evening. As a duly designated representative of the City, County and State of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension.

Dr. Peter Venkman: [Sarcastically] That oughta do it. Thanks very much, Ray.

Anonymoussays:

Timothy Geigner aka "Dark Helmet", who once supported copyright,

or so wrote (carefully narrow), failed as a writer (as shown by being published here at Techdirt), turned bitter and became openly piratical, now only jeers at anyone trying to gain money from what they made.

And, to counter OLD argument (if any of the pirates even bother): there is NO other viable means of gaining money than people PAYING. — YES, you can do tricks like appear to give away the base product and get money for extras that are effectively cheating by those who can afford to, but the key point is still that people PAY DIRECTLY.

Uriel-238says:

NO other viable means of gaining money than people PAYING

Well, that would defeat the purpose of the NEA, now, wouldn’t it?

The thing is big media took people paying for granted for a long time, and then refused to pay their artists. Development of EA gaming is still a nightmare of low pay and forced crunches and shady contracts.

And the AAA developers haven’t been entirely clean with DRM. DRM unnecessarily overtaxes resources and then doesn’t uninstall cleanly. DRM has been used limit the number of installations and to mandate spyware and malware. DRM has been used to deny first sale doctrine. DRM has been used to mandate commercial watching. Essentially, DRM is force, and big media, once they implement DRM are too tempted to force on end user to do more than mere obedience of copyright law.

And consequently, we’ve learned to resent DRM. We’ve learned to seek out pirated sources, because the cracked product is better than the store-bought product. And yes, they’re tempted then to not bother paying.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Timothy Geigner aka "Dark Helmet", who once supported copyright,

And, to counter OLD argument (if any of the pirates even bother): there is NO other viable means of gaining money than people PAYING.

…which doesn’t imply that people should do work first, and then expect to get paid later for performing a barely-related service (copying) of negligible value. In most industries, people don’t do work without being paid up-front or getting a reliable and specific promise of payment. My bathroom contractor isn’t getting a royalty every time I flush.

but the key point is still that people PAY DIRECTLY.

No, that’s the crux of this whole argument: the only "direct" payment is for a copy, which is something that millions of people are willing to provide for free.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Timothy Geigner aka "Dark Helmet", who once supported copyright,

"My bathroom contractor isn’t getting a royalty every time I flush."

But there is indeed such a thing as a "flush royalty" — particularly with the "green as it gets" pig toilet, an ingenious invention of antiquity that has all but disappeared in modern times.

"The pig toilet is, basically, a big hole acting as both outhouse and trough. A person comes to the outhouse section and, colloquially, does his business. The outhouse is situated over the pig sty, with a pathway connecting the two. The ?stuff? travels down the carved out path from the outhouse into the pig sty or adjacent trough. For the person, it?s nature calling. For the pig, it?s the dinner bell."

http://nowiknow.com/pig-toilets/

Often times it feels almost as if Techdirt’s resident troll, that "out of the blue" fellow, is sitting on one of those pig toilets like a king on his throne, and all the rest of us are right below like hungry pigs at the trough, ready to lap up and metabolize all the putrid morsels he drops our way.

Rekrulsays:

Re: Timothy Geigner aka "Dark Helmet", who once supported copyright,

or so wrote (carefully narrow), failed as a writer (as shown by being published here at Techdirt), turned bitter and became openly piratical, now only jeers at anyone trying to gain money from what they made.

And, to counter OLD argument (if any of the pirates even bother): there is NO other viable means of gaining money than people PAYING. — YES, you can do tricks like appear to give away the base product and get money for extras that are effectively cheating by those who can afford to, but the key point is still that people PAY DIRECTLY.

DRM is one of the major reasons I won’t buy modern AAA games. Well that and they’ll no longer run on my system. I’ll buy a game from GoG, but I refuse to install Steam, or Origin or any other online DRM system. There were some games from Ubisoft that I kind of wanted, but after I heard that Starforce can harm your system, I refused to buy any of their games. I wouldn’t even pirate them because I was never clear on if the crackers completely removed Starforce or if they left it and just patched it so that the game would ignore it.

I’m no angel, I’ve pirated games in the past and may do so again in the future. However I’ve also bought quite a few games as well.

True story: I was planning to buy Burnout Paradise for Windows, until I learned that most of the console DLC was never released for it. Then I planned to buy it for the PS3 until I learned that you can’t buy a complete copy on disc. If you want the DLC, it has to be purchased separately, online (assuming it’s even still available) and then there’s no way to truly back it up. Any copies you make can only be restored to the same console, so if that console dies and you replace it, your "backups" are useless. Screw that. Now they have a supposedly "complete" edition for the PS4 (I don’t have a PS4), but it’s not complete. There are already patches out for it, which, surprise, surprise, can only be downloaded by the program and which you can’t backup for the future.

Re: tl;dr

I believe there are DRM-free Steam games that it’s possible to play without the client; you can install them using SteamCMD. I don’t know how easy it is to tell whether a game is DRM-free on Steam, though.

My biggest problem with GOG is its poor Linux support.

I haven’t tried itch.io yet but I hear good things; it’s a similar game download marketplace with a focus on indie titles.

Uriel-238says:

Day-zero DLC = "Incomplete version"

I’ve long since realized that for many games the basic version is the incomplete version, contrast to the gold edition (which has day-zero DLC and a season pass) and the game of the year edition (which is released after all the DLC is done.)

So I tend to wait for the complete version of games.

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