Sit back for a second in your chair and read on to see if I might be able to help you. During the last 4-5 years I have given away on this site, to over 500,000 individual visitors, the basics of my reverse engineering knowledge, I would like to think that during this time I have acquired significant skills myself (albeit in the somewhat legally dubious area of protections cracking). As you can read on my feedback page a small proportion of visitors have taken the time to thank me for my efforts, many others via e-mail have done the same.
In an ideal world, I would like everyone to learn reverse engineering basics, more prying eyes would invariably find the real software evils out there, need I mention the targeted adverts and spywares, I however am realistic, I know the majority of people do not really want to learn this stuff for a variety of reasons, some valid, some not so valid ;-). I have presented in the table below some situations where I could provide my reverse engineering services too you. Please read them carefully and note that they are NOT loopholes through which you can obtain cracks for software (see the legal jumbo somewhere further on down the page).
|Lost Serial Numbers or Activation Codes.||In virtually every case you should contact your software vendor for replacements (if it is that simple), I know that some vendors impose very strict penalties for support related to copy protection, charges of $50 for temporary 'activation keys' or 're-activation codes' are common, others have lock in support contracts that have you paying a subscription each month for no benefits. Think very carefully about asking me to do this type of work.|
|Windows Re-installation / Formatting your HD invalidated your license.||As above, at first try your software vendor, they may however be reluctant to help you, even insisting you buy another license, couple that with the advent of Microsoft's latest 'product activator' and some licensing systems might just prove to be a real pain in the neck, other protections e.g. FLEXlm and some hardware keys, are locked to a HD serial # and formatting destroys this (although there are plenty of utilities out there for changing your HD serial #).|
|Hardware key hassles.||The dongle driving your software becomes faulty or is stolen, in virtually every case I've heard of you'll have to absorb the complete cost of a replacement (thats definitely not a joke on a thousands of dollar software package, I've even heard of cases where software vendors have accused customers directly of stealing the dongle). On a time-critical project you must ensure your investment is protected or at least that if the worst happens you can get by for a day or 2 without a dongle. Dongles are often the ultimate restriction in remote computing especially if you work on a laptop or from home or need to demonstrate to clients, many companies systems won't allow you to remove the dongle from the building.|
|Miscellaneous.||Perhaps your software is no longer supported and the company ceased trading, maybe the software is now part of some much larger corporation that now requires you to upgrade to latest wonder product X that adds no value to your business. Feel free to present your case.|
|Securing your Investment.||
I probably should state this as a certain law, individual countries probably have their own term for this, essentially the caveat is that "if something will go wrong, it will go wrong at the most inconvenient moment". If you are an honest software user and your supplier is at all reputable you can probably resolve this problem fairly quickly and amicably, sadly not all software users are honest and not all suppliers are indeed reputable (one from my days of propositional logic :-) ).
Like all things, making contingency plans for software failure is not just a very good idea, its basic common sense, most of you with valuable data take regular backups, a replacement hardware key (depending where you live) might take as long as a week to reach you, a company that can't be bothered to staff its support department properly could also be the difference between project success and costly failure.
If you have any of the problems described in the table above or something you might think I'd be interested in, there is a good chance I might be able to help you, however I am setting out clearly my legal position and terms so that there can be absolutely NO misunderstandings.
1. You will need in the first instance to send me an e-mail indicating the nature of your problem, the specific program name (if applicable), perhaps the product's webpage, and some basic information about the problem you are having (I will ask for more if I need it). I expect you to use a bona fide e-mail address, anything from firstname.lastname@example.org is going to be ignored I'm afraid ;-). If you fail to send me all of the aforementioned details then I may not reply, it is as simple as that.
2. Whatever resources I need to undertake the project please make them available promptly, I have no desire to download hundreds of megabytes so in some cases I may request you send me a CD, I will always confirm when I have downloaded or received anything. In due course I will study your project and send you a brief report indicating whether or not I think it would be worth me proceeding and a precise cost (based upon my time estimate), there are rare projects I may not be able to help you with.
3. At this stage you must decide whether or not you wish me to proceed, there will be no hard feelings on my part if you choose not too :-), if you instruct me to proceed I will in good faith provide you with a ready-made solution which you are welcome to test, in fact my doing this serves 2 purposes, firstly it is my show of good faith and secondly it legally protects me from any potential entrapment (everything you tell me is in the strictest confidence, I do not prejudge any situations).
Now, please listen to this very carefully indeed, I will NOT ever accept under any circumstances shareware applications requests, this isn't what this page is about, go elsewhere if you want a cracks requisition service, there are plenty of mindless idiots every day churning out just the sort of things your looking for, find them, play it illegal. By the same token don't even think of asking me to download programs for you (even if I might have access to them, which of course I do not), if you don't own the software or I'm not convinced you have a legitimate right to use it, I'm not touching it, I don't need any ones money that badly, its really that simple.
Now re-read this section, and be VERY SURE you understand it. If you do, e-mail me. I'll add some case studies here in due course actually. You might also like to read just how the classic 'warez' site operates below.
If you've ever trawled the murkier parts of the web looking for a specific application you are probably familiar with the standard practise of the websites that peddle this, I present (in Fravia-esque style) the inner workings of a classical warez site (not that anyone with a mere smidgen of intelligence couldn't figure this out) :-
1. You collect as content some links to free downloads for popular programs (this is the least time consuming part of constructing your warez site), Paint Shop Pro (trial version), WinZip (shareware), Quake 3 (demo), Adobe programs (tryout version) are all fine, Acrobat Reader, being totally illiterate also helps since you will plaster your site with terms like '0-day' and 'l33twarez' and so on. In some cases you fetch some ancient key generator or crack which you don't verify and link to that as well. You upload your site to one of the free providers which you inevitably use.
2. You collect and sign up as many gambling / smut site sponsors, pay-for click, money-for-surfing, link exchange schemes as you possibly can, pasting their banners and irritating pop-up window code all over your opening page, on the same page you place links to all the applications and games losers might ever want (linking them to your sponsors or some useless topsite voting form, top 100 this, top 50 that, top something the other), you place also 100 different 'Entrances' which all link to your sponsor (in the hope that a losers mouse-click is quicker than his eye to brain co-ordination, which it often is if they are trawling sites such as yours).
3. You realise soon that no-one visits or votes or clicks your banners. Now you are more desperate for any money, so you prepare hundreds of harder porn and warez exchange banners, pop-ups, swamping your ailing site even more with this garbage, you steal links from the very sites you link exchanged with, you spam every single warez newsgroup in existence, you spam every search engine in existence, you spam every warez IRC channel on UnderNet & EFNet in existence, and so it continues, and guess what, still no-one comes.
4. After a few months, you get sick of no money, no visitors and constantly re-uploading your sorry excuse for a site to the free providers you inevitably use. You delete your site (no more than a dozen or so pages usually) and go back to thinking of a new web idea, mighten I suggest one that is legal :-).