How to hack software without getting caught
It is always illegal to hack software that you don’t own. But there are times when you do Act Special programs that you cannot access without hacking. The cruel irony is that at those times, you’re much more likely to run the risk of being slapped with a lawsuit than actual real hackers. Here’s a guide to hack like a pro to get back what’s right for you.
This guide is intended to help people who have already purchased software, but for whatever reason are unable to access their credentials, either temporarily or permanently. Gizmodo does not support software piracy. Furthermore, this is general information, and you should proceed at your own risk.
Do not use The Pirate Bay
Think of Pirate Bay like a red-light district: It’s impossible to close, but if lawmen are looking to break some heads, they should probably start it. And copyright trolls are some not particularly creative lawmen.
Instead, try accessing some closed torrenting communities. Places like Demonoid or IPTorrents are not as isolated as they used to be, but they are much safer than Pirate Bay or IsoHunt. They are invite only, but the invitations are not too difficult. Ask those around you, and one of your tech friends will likely have one to throw you in your way. Furthermore, always read the site’s comments for warnings about not only hacking tracking files included by nerd hunters, but potential malware.
Use a proxy
Hiding your IP address with a proxy is one of those speaking tasks that sounds more intimidating than it really is. Think of it as using a cut man in baseball, excluding internet connections rather than short stops. With torrenting, all you have to do is go to any number of public proxy lists and paste any of these addresses into the proxy field of your BitTorrent client. Or, for a small fee, you can just participate in a ready-to-use service like the popular BTGuard, which does all the work for you. You literally just download and run the app, enter your login information, and torrent. that simple.
You can take this a step further with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which is also provided by BTGuard. VPNs do basically what a proxy does, but with all of your online actions. This can potentially be a bit excessive for hacking some software, but if you’re concerned about anyone tracking what you’re doing on the web, this is something to look into.
The downside is that the VPN presents an additional point of failure for your connection. This isn’t a huge concern most of the time, as stable servers are usually just fine, and more automated options will adjust quickly. But this is something to keep in mind if you hate outages.
Adjust your BitTorrent settings
Generally, your ISP does not pay any attention to the copyright infringements that occur in torrent transfers. It only cares about the massive spike in your bandwidth, and what it can do to stop it. If it can prove that you are using BitTorrent, it will throttle your connection.
To turn off your ISP, go to the BitTorrent app preferences and enable encryption. This will make it difficult for you to discourage yourself. The downside is that it also prevents you from connecting to other BT users who don’t use encryption. Many don’t, but it’s kind of like a (very intrusive) condom hacking. Better safe than sorry.
You may also want to consider slowing down the maximum download speeds. The traditional torrent protocol states that your download speed should be capped at about 80 percent of your connection’s maximum download speed, and your upload speed at about 10-20 percent of that. You can turn up the volume either if you want to, but limiting how much you load at once can limit your exposure.
When you use BitTorrent, you are constantly uploading and downloading data from other users. “Start Upload” is done when the download is finished, and continue uploading for others. It’s good manners, but it’s also a point of focus in your head. That’s what zombie lawyer packs really are after. They will try to charge you for the wider distribution if you get caught.
This is where all the hardcore runners will come in. But listen: This guide is all about not getting caught. Not your representative on the Internet, nor the health of the torrent community. Simple seeding is the easiest way to fall into the torrent trap.
However, many communities require you to maintain a strict upload to download ratio. And those that do are generally safer ports than most. But sowing for long periods of time, especially on old torrents, is still risky.
Get the serial number
Well, you downloaded your software undetected. Big deal. Lots of software is available for full public download as a trial, and only requires activation. And for this you need to track down an app called Serial Box.
Serial Box is a comprehensive directory of working serials for any application or software suite you wish to install. It covers previous and current versions, and is available in both Windows and OS X flavors. To find it, simply run its name through a search engine with the current month and year attached, along with your favorite direct download file sharing site. Like this: “Serial Box 4-2012 Megaupload” – only with a site that still exists. RapidShare, perhaps. From there, choose the free download (it can be hard to find on the page; sometimes it’s called a “slow” download), unzip and install the files.
You should see iSerial Reader, Serial Box, and SerialSeeker. Serial Box and SerialSeeker should both open on the same app, though, and they are the two apps you want to use. Open either of these options, find your program by scrolling or using the search bar, and click the Series tab. You will find activation codes for each version of the software. load up.
Keep your serial number active
Most programs are designed to accept predefined serial numbers that adhere to some algorithm or another. This is to allow you to install it even if you are not connected to the Internet, but it also means that you can activate it with a serial number that someone else has already used. Brilliant. But then your app will most likely try to “call home” to let the slave masters know you’re using the same authentication code as 25,000 other donkeys. Not great.
There are several ways to stop this. The first is to use a user-oriented firewall like Little Snitch to approve outbound connections. This sounds more complicated than it is. All it does is ask you, with a popup, if you want to allow connections to and from your computer when they happen. You can accept or decline, and set your answer to be a one-time thing, until the program is terminated, or last forever (unless you change it manually). Do you want to allow SoftwareCompanyActivation01 to connect? No, no I don’t. No thank you forever.
Little Snitch and their ilk can be spam, so go ahead and disable the prompts setting and explore the activation codes you have to worry about and manually decline them ahead of time. No, you can’t make Little Snitch disable his home phone (anymore [easily]).
The other option is to disable the brute force of the program’s phone house in its actual files. It can be difficult to track down evidence of this for all but the most common pirated software. On Windows, this will involve finding your host file in System32 and pasting it into a small piece of text (you can find it from a basic Google search). Same goes for OS X, but in Terminal. This might sound a bit vague, but it’s actually very easy to do once you have the text you want.
Keep the installation file on the hard disk
Sometimes it fails and you have to reinstall. Maybe your firewall crashed at the wrong moment and a call was sent home, or you need to run a clean install of the operating system. Having a copy of the installation file of the program you downloaded will save you a lot of trouble, because if you have to re-download, you double your chances of being caught by your ISP.
When in doubt, don’t
If you follow every step listed here, it will be very hard to find. But this is still possible. And while being able to issue receipts for software you’re using illegally will lessen the penalty you receive, in fact, you can still run into some serious software piracy problems – even software you already own. Latro Warning.