With the majority of all commercially available software slushing round on the Internet in pirate form, companies have always sought secure anti-piracy mechanisms to protect their products.
One such solution is iLok from security company PACE. Now on its second generation, iLok2 is a relatively cheap proprietary USB dongle that acts as a license storage device for software protected by PACE Anti-Piracy. While iLok1 allows customers to carry up to 118 licenses, iLok2 can carry up to 500.
“Once a license is delivered to an iLok account, your user simply downloads the license to their iLok. It’s as simple as dragging and dropping,” the company explains.
“The license is stored safely and securely inside the solid-state iLok smart key and can then be used to provide the authorization for protected software to run on any computer where that software is installed.”
Over time, iLok appears to have gained a lot of traction within the pro-audio community, those individuals using sophisticated and often very expensive software such as Avid’s Pro Tools to create music. Licenses are managed from within the iLok License Manager, as illustrated in the image below.
However, after remaining somewhat secure iLok2 – and by extension all of the software development companies that use PACE’s system – appear to have a problem on their hands. During the past several days dozens of pieces of software that use the iLok system have started to appear online.
The releases come courtesy of cracking group AudioUTOPIA who explain with their Pro Tools release how their technique completely negates the need for the iLok system to be in place.
“Pro Tools setup will install the iLok driver however it’s not necessary for the release to work, you can disable it by pressing Windows key+R then typing services.msc, find “PACE License Services” right click and choose stop,” the group explains.
“Additionally you can removed the entire thing by going to Windows programs and features and uninstalling “PACE License Support Win64.”
Whether AudioUTOPIA’s crack represents a permanent defeat of the iLok system remains to be seen but currently pirates are celebrating a flood of software just in time for the festive season.
“Oh boy! Awesome fuckin release!” declared one. “I stopped believing in Santa a long time ago but I may just have to re-evaluate that assessment.”
The reverse could very well be the case in the PACE household this Christmas.