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How does keygens work?

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โˆ™ 2008-06-08 11:18:02

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Serial numbers for computer software have a specific pattern, which allows the installer or application to detect whether or not it is a legit key. A very simple example would be that every serial number has exactly three occurances of the number 5 in it - so 1932-1253-2319-5512 would be a working serial number. In a real-life scenario the relationships between the numbers would of course be more complicated.

The shipped software contains an algorithm that checks whether or not a serial is valid. The software creator has a piece of software that allows him to create serial numbers for the product.

To create a keygen, a cracker group (people specialized in breaking copy protection schemes) analyze the program executable to find the part that checks the serial. They then reconstruct the algorithm to create the serials based on the checking code. The finished keygen is an app applying the algorithm to create a serial number.

Sometimes keygens do not really contain the algorithm, but rather a list of valid serial numbers, of which one is selected at random.

The keygen for Windows xp in the later service packs was more complicated, because Microsoft checked not only whether a key was valid, but also whether it had been sold with a copy and was not already in use on another computer. The keygen sent mass requests to the Microsoft server to check whether or not it was a working key.

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