Application Download and Installation Guidelines Various software vendors use many different protection schemes to prevent their products from being used without a genuine valid licence. For example, software can and very often will contact the publishers server to validate the licence key you have provided, and if that licence key is flagged as not issued by them it will be blacklisted. There are five different types of "fix" or "medicine" that will bypass the software protection, these are: CRACK - A crack is a modified version of a file that has been "pre-hacked" by the cracker. Frequently this is the actual EXE of the main program, but in modified form. It could also be a DLL or a key file that the program uses to register itself or check an online activation server. A cracked file has such checks removed. A drawback of a crack is it can be big since it's just a modified version of the original file. Frequently, updating a program that has been cracked will overwrite the crack, causing the program to return to it's "pre-cracked" state. PATCH - A patch is a little nicer than a crack. It's smaller and usually contains information on what it is. A patch is a separate program that is applied to an installed application to make a cracked file (EXE, DLL, etc). With a patch, u can make a crack. When you start up a patch, frequently you'll be greeted with information such as the release group's name, the cracker who made it, information on the "target file" (more on that later), and so on. In most cases, it has all the same drawbacks as a crack does, except for the download file size. SERIAL - Most people are aware what a serial is and how to use it. Frequently a provided serial will register the software program, however it will register it with the name of the cracker or website that distributed it. Sometimes a serial can be used with any information (such as your own name), and sometimes it is vital to use the information provided with it (name, email, company, etc). The biggest drawback to serials is a term called "blacklisting", which the vendor can either store a encrypted list of serials to reject in the exe file or be accessed from their activation server. KEYGEN - A keygen is short for "Key Generator". A keygen, is the "best" or most sought after form of a fix. A keygen allows you to generate the correct registration data for a program using any info you like (name, email, company, etc) without modifying anything in the actual program (similar to a serial, but always just for you). Sometimes a keygen will generate a serial for you that you can use, other times it might generate a license file that needs to be imported into the program. Keygens can have multiple uses as well. For software that requires activation, frequently a keygen will provide the means to use the "Phone Activation" method in a program. (All programs that requires activation allows you to do so via the Internet or over the phone. The keygen simply mimics what a person at the software company would do for you). HOST REDIRECT - This is where you divert a programs activation server to point at your localhost - this prevents any communication with the activation servers - in most cases, a simple block in the firewall would do the same job. An example of this method is by X-Force on the Adobe Suite of releases. The hosts file can be found in: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc and is a file that has no file extension - this can be opened in Notepad, but bare in mind that if you are on Windows 7 or higher you will need to open Notepad as Administrator to modify this file. An example of a host file could look like this: Code: # Copyright (c) 1993-2009 Microsoft Corp. # # This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows. # # This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each # entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should # be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name. # The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one # space. # # Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual # lines or following the machine name denoted by a '#' symbol. # # For example: # # 126.96.36.199 rhino.acme.com # source server # 188.8.131.52 x.acme.com # x client host # localhost name resolution is handled within DNS itself. # 127.0.0.1 localhost # ::1 localhost 127.0.0.1 localhost # My custom redirects :) 127.0.0.1 activate.adobe.com It's VERY important to read any NFO files that come along with the fix/release, the DIZ files just contain file version information not needed in "fixing" a software application - NFO and DIZ files are simple text files, so you could simply view them with any simple text editor such as Notepad, and get the info you needed. However, they were designed to be viewed with an NFO viewer. It makes them easier to read and look pretty. PLEASE NOTE: PLEASE BE AWARE THAT CRACKS, PATCHES, SERIALS AND KEYGENS CAN, AND OFTEN DO CARRY TROJANS/VIRUSES/SPYWARE/MALWARE - YOU CAN ALSO GET FALSE POSITIVES. THIS IS MOSTLY DUE TO VIRUS AUTHORS USING THE SAME PACKERS/PROTECTORS TO HIDE THEIR VIRUS AS SOME LEGITIMATE SOFTWARE VENDORS DO. IF YOU ARE NOT 100% SURE AND DO NOT HAVE ADEQUATE PROTECTION, YOU CAN EITHER RUN IT IN A VIRTUAL MACHINE OR AVOID USING IT. ALWAYS TRY TO USE FIXES FROM TRUSTED SOURCES, SOME EXAMPLES INCLUDE X-FORCE, CORE, AND LOGICALLY OUR OWN BOARD4ALL LOCAL REVERSES. ALWAYS BACK UP EVERYTHING. As a matter of precaution, never allow an application to access the internet unless you have been told different by the reverser who cracked it, i.e. he may have redirected the activation server to the localhost for example like what was achieved in the x-force Adobe suite, otherwise you should always block it BEFORE you attempt to enter a generated serial - remember that its highly likely at that stage of installation that the software will contact its publisher's server to check, and it will periodically check throughout the use of the software.