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Encyclopedia > Tages
TAGES
Developer: TAGES SA
Latest release: 5.5.2.7 / 2007
OS: Microsoft Windows
Genre: Digital Rights Management
License: Proprietary
Website: http://www.tagesprotection.com

TAGES (Tagès) is a software Copy Protection brand, jointly developed, at first, by MPO and the Thales Group (formerly known as Thomson-CSF). The work on the protection initially began in 1999, and it is currently being developed and maintained in Valbonne, a village in the southeastern France. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Shortcut: WP:NPOVD Articles that have been linked to this page are the subject of an NPOV dispute (NPOV stands for Neutral Point Of View; see below). ... “Software development” redirects here. ... Code complete redirects here. ... An operating system (OS) is the software that manages the sharing of the resources of a computer and provides programmers with an interface used to access those resources. ... “Windows” redirects here. ... Computer software can be organized into categories based on common function, type, or field of use. ... Digital rights management (DRM) is an umbrella term that refers to access control technologies used by publishers and other copyright holders to limit usage of digital media or devices. ... A software license is a legal agreement which may take the form of a proprietary or gratuitous license as well as a memorandum of contract between a producer and a user of computer software. ... A website (alternatively, Web site or web site) is a collection of Web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that is hosted on one or several Web server(s), usually accessible via the Internet, cell phone or a LAN. A Web page is a document, typically written in HTML... Copy prevention, also known as copy protection, is any technical measure designed to prevent duplication of information. ... The Thales Group (Euronext: HO) is a major French electronics company delivering mission-critical information systems and services for the Aerospace, Defence, and Security markets. ... Thomson-CSF was a major electronics and defense contractor. ... Valbonne is a village and commune near Nice, in the Alpes-Maritimes département, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur région of southeastern France. ...


The name 'Tages' originates in the Etruscan mythology, where it functions as the Latin spelling for an alias of a minor deity, Tarchies. TAGES (Tagès) is a software Copy Protection brand, jointly developed, at first, by MPO and the Thales Group (formerly known as Thomson-CSF). ... The Etruscans were a race of unknown origin from North Italy who were eventually integrated into Rome. ...


The first software product to be protected by TAGES was a PC game, MotoRacer 3, developed by Delphine Software (DSI) and released in 2001. This marked the first sale and licensing of the TAGES copy protection system. This computer/video game related article needs cleanup. ... Delphine Software was a French video game company. ...


In 2003, an independent company, TAGES SA, was formed. The company focuses on the development of Copy Protection and Digital Rights Management systems, and is now the sole vendor of the TAGES copy protection system. Digital rights management (DRM) is an umbrella term that refers to access control technologies used by publishers and other copyright holders to limit usage of digital media or devices. ...


The TAGES copy protection system is compatible with multiple versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system, and is employed on CD and DVD discs. One of the main strengths of TAGES resides in the incorporation of a "Secure Area" on a physical medium, which renders the production of a relatively perfect copy of a TAGES protected disc, utilizing modern hardware, a nearly impossible task. Additionally, a set of anti-cracking instruments is being provided with the protection system (such as TAGESCAP, TAGES APIs and TAGES VFS). This makes the reverse-engineering of TAGES-protected applications a difficult and time-consuming task. “Windows” redirects here. ... CD may stand for: Compact Disc Canadian Forces Decoration Cash Dispenser (at least used in Japan) CD LPMud Driver Centrum-Demokraterne (Centre Democrats of Denmark) Certificate of Deposit České Dráhy (Czech Railways) Chad (NATO country code) Chalmers Datorförening (computer club of the Chalmers University of Technology) a 1960s... DVD (also known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is a popular optical disc storage media format. ... Reverse engineering (RE) is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device or object or system through an abductive analysis of its structure, function and operation. ...

Contents

Protection strategies

As mentioned previously in this article, TAGES employs several techniques in order to counter software piracy. These techniques span over three main areas of interest (due to which reason, TAGES SA often describes its product as "The AAA Copy Protection System"): The copyright infringement of software refers to several practices when done without the permission of the copyright holder: Creating a copy and/or selling it. ...


Defense against the circumvention of the protection by means of reverse-engineering

TAGES offers various strategies to resist the reverse-engineering and cracking of TAGES-protected software, among which are:

  • TAGESCAP - A binary wrapper which is applied to the software application's executable file and requires no changes to the source code of the application. It provides the encryption of the protected product's executable file(s), and the protection of the application against debugging, disassembly, reverse-engineering, and other forms of analysis. The TAGESCAP strategy suits a situation which the personnel in charge of safeguarding the software product against piracy has no access to the software's source code, or where the developer is not interested in introducing any protection-related changes to the software's source code. TAGESCAP thus makes it possible to protect an application without making any modifications to its source code, or without even having any access to it. This, however, has the drawback of restricting the authentication only to one single check, which will essentially be carried out at the start-up of the protected application.
  • TAGES APIs - A set of instruments allowing the developer to work seamlessly with the Secure Area which TAGES provides; not only does it enable the storage of sensitive information (such as cryptographic keys, certificates, etc.) within the Secure Area, but it also enables the developer to implement a set of fully customized "protection triggers", potentially appearing at any stage of the protected application's execution phase. For instance, should a non-authentic copy of a protected product be detected, the developer of that software product can decide upon the actions to be taken under such circumstances, such as electing to silently degrade some aspects of the product's functionality. This scenario is evident in an hypothetical example in which, should a protected computer car racing game detect a piracy attempt, it will begin to gradually drop the speed of the driven vehicle, and degrade its responsiveness to the player's actions. The player could then be invited to purchase a licensed version of the game, and play it without encountering such premeditated anomalies. Notably, a developer could specify that an explicitly restricted version of the protected application (such as a demo version) would be launched, should the carrier be identified as counterfeit. The TAGES APIs feature, however, requires modifications and additions to the source code of the to-be protected application.
  • TAGES VFS - An encrypted virtual file system, allowing the developer to additionally encrypt selected non-executable content which is of an association to the to-be protected software. When a successfully authenticated protected application runs, it has transparent access to the original (decrypted, plain-text) content; this functionality is achieved by means of a device driver. Should a protected application's authentication phase be successfully removed by means of deliberate circumvention, the application's erroneous behaviour is to be expected, that is due to the fact that the encrypted content is not being accessible to the application in its preliminary plain-text form, and from the running application's perspective, it is being naturally considered as an unexpected garbage data - resulting, in most cases, in a protected application's crash.


TAGES permits the combination of the aforementioned strategies for a given project, in order to further increase the strength and security of the protection being applied. Source code (commonly just source or code) is any series of statements written in some human-readable computer programming language. ... A virtual file system (VFS) or virtual filesystem switch is an abstraction layer on top of a more concrete file system. ... Computer files can be divided into two broad categories: binary and text. ... A device driver, or software driver is a computer program allowing higher-level computer programs to interact with a computer hardware device. ...


Defense against the emulation of a protected carrier's security measures

TAGES SA claims that the nature of their product makes it extremely difficult to perform all the required tasks for the successful emulation of the security measures present on an original carrier. It is noteworthy that the implementation of the TAGES APIs can be extended to cover this scenario as well.


There are, however, two commercial disc emulator software packages which, at the time of this writing (August, 2007), succeed in creating working disc images of TAGES-protected media, and then successfully play back the created disc images.


Defense against the RAW copying, "Cloning" of a protected carrier

TAGES SA claims that the nature of their product (namely, the structure of the Secure Area) makes it extremely difficult to produce a working copy of a protected disc.


In 2004, there was limited success in the duplication of TAGES-protected CDs, using a method which was initially presented by "Michael Spath", a moderator at CD Freaks. The copies which were produced by means of this method indeed successfully passed the TAGES security checks, however, the technique employed by this method was not exhaustive, and was virtually eliminated with the release of an updated TAGES version, as evident from a statement which TAGES SA had subsequently released (unfortunately, the TAGES web site was updated, removing any references to the statement in question): CD Freaks. ...

"Our commitment to offer 100% resistance to 1:1 copy is more than ever confirmed. To make it definitely clear to everyone, an already implemented version of TAGES™, with a slight modification of one API, clearly repels copies right from the beginning, making the Spath method void whatever the improvement he may wish to add."
"The Spath method is incomplete and already a thing of the past."

And, according to a post by a TAGES SA employee with the alias of Tanith at the Club CD Freaks forums:

"We do NOT consider the spath method as a threat: if you don't understand what we have written, then in few words, we consider it as a spathetic :) attempt!" [1]

Device drivers and stability

As with most optical disc-based copy protection systems (such as SafeDisc, StarForce, etc.), TAGES installs its own device drivers as a part of the copy protection system. The TAGES device drivers are installed on the first launch of any TAGES-protected application. SafeDisc is a CD/DVD copy protection program for Windows applications and games, developed by Macrovision Corporation, aiming to prevent software piracy, as well as resisting home media duplication devices, professional duplicators, and reverse engineering attempts. ... For the video game, see Star Force. ...


Uninstallation of the TAGES device drivers

TAGES SA provides an official, standalone, device driver installation and uninstallation program [2]. This program functions as a toggle; once the TAGES device drivers are installed, the program will function as an uninstaller, otherwise, it will function as an installer. Both x86-32 and x86-64 versions of the program are available. IA-32, sometimes generically called x86 or even x86-32. ... The AMD64 or x86-64 is a 64-bit processor architecture invented by AMD. It is a superset of the x86 architecture, which it natively supports. ...


Stability of the TAGES device drivers

With respect to stability, there is not much evidence of any significant trouble arising from the deployment of the TAGES device drivers on a given PC. However, there is one known case in which an update was produced by TAGES SA, to address conflicts with some unorthodox software products, as reported by some players of a TAGES-protected PC game, Darkstar One, in its English version. [3] Darkstar One is a computer game developed by Ascaron, due to be released in august 2006. ...


See also

SafeDisc is a CD/DVD copy protection program for Windows applications and games, developed by Macrovision Corporation, aiming to prevent software piracy, as well as resisting home media duplication devices, professional duplicators, and reverse engineering attempts. ... SecuROM is a CD/DVD copy protection product, most often used for computer games, developed by Sony DADC. SecuROM aims to resist home media duplication devices, professional duplicators, and reverse engineering attempts. ... For the video game, see Star Force. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ...

External links and references

  • The official web site of the TAGES SA Company
  • MPO
  • Technical details at CDFreaks.
  • Tagès Technical Workings

 
 

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