Denuvo is an anti-tampering and digital rights management (DRM) protection software used solely for PC games developed by Denuvo Software Solutions in Austria. It was formed by the business spin-off of Sony Digital Audio Disc Corporation’s Digital Works division. It is the best and most used application and anti-piracy technology platform.
It has 350 million customers issued with licenses. Their customers include game publishers, independent software vendors and e-Publishers. They provide anti-tampering and anti-cheating technology, application license management and optical media protection. Their anti-tampering technology work by preventing debugging, reverse-engineering and changing the application. The anti-cheating technology prevents programs from stealing the secrets of the game, giving the user an advantage and runs live-mode and provides a runtime application self-protection (RASP).
Lastly their optical media protection provides discs from being copied by using an advanced code encryption combined with an application license management system. The licensing management system uses algorithms to ensuring that only discs that were legally purchased can be used.
Anti-Tampering and DRM
Anti-tampering software is and enhanced form of protection compared to its simple counterpart DRM. DRM uses small amounts of code in the servers or the discs itself to prevent copies being made and other copyright violations. Anti-tampering software prevents users from modifying the software. Some of the tampering methods used by hackers are installing rootkits, disabling security or injecting malicious code. These are all done in order to steal secure data, change the communication protocols, extract algorithms or counterfeit the product.
The First Shortfalls
To prevent these sort of attacks it was earlier thought Denuvo used continuously encrypting and decrypting code to protect the content but this was denied by the company. The technology was first used in September 2014 on the game FIFA 15. In December of that year a Chinese hacking group, 3DM proved the software was indeed penetrable by releasing a software crack for the game Dragon Age: Inquisition.
The group also disproved the earlier theories of the software encryption by declaring that the software only used a 64-bit encryption that used unique cryptographic keys for each PC hardware. Denuvo then acknowledged that no game is unsusceptible to hacking and that it achieved a milestone as its security took about a month to crack from the release date.
This was a previously unobtainable time-frame as cracks for games usually came out within a day of release.
Denuvo-protected games continued to be cracked by 3DM in all of 2015, but in 2016 it nearly gave up Just Cause 3 due to an upgrade in the software. They predicted that all games would be impossible to crack within two years and gave up cracking Denuvo-protected games for one year. In August 2016, the games Tomb Raider and Doom were hacked by CONSPIR4CY, another cracking group. Many games continued to be cracked by other groups and in less and less time periods till it reached only a few hours after a release. This caused some games to remove their Denuvo-protection.
Many users have complaints that Denuvo has many drawbacks. Firstly, that it shortens the life of solid-state drives by writing excessive data to the drive. However the company claimed that data writing is not constant or excessive. That it restricts or at least makes the playing of games offline extremely difficult.
After downloading a game through a certain game-downloading platform you cannot play it with the same platform making it feel to users like even though they purchased the game they cannot play it directly with a third-party’s interference. playable back-ups of your games are restricted. Some files remain on the system even after uninstallation of the game.
If an error occurs with your payment method your account will be automatically disabled thereby blocking other Denuvo-protected games from being played. Lastly, even the director of Tekken 7 stated it was the reason for the frame-rate losses in the game.