Ubisoft’s new DRM cracked within a day of release

Piracy on the PC platform is a major problem lately and it seems gaming companies are trying everything in their power to prevent piracy – who can blame them. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost for genuine customers.

This certainly was the case with Ubisoft’s release of Assassins Creed 2 for the PC. The game was delayed by almost four months to introduce a new form of copy protection/Digital Rights Management (DRM) to prevent the illegal use of the software. How it prevents this, to put it simply, is by using an authentication server. Which really isn’t ground breaking technology, and already you can see the negatives to this approach.

To play the game (a single player game) you will require an Internet connection, which is not the end of the world, but the real ball-breaker is that you have to authenticate to a Ubisoft server every-time you want to load the game up.

On a good day this works, but in the unlikely event that the authentication server is down, well then you will be denied of playing your game. Unfortunately for both Ubisoft and paying customers that likely event did occur, and many customers were left dry. This is just another case of where legitimate customers are getting the raw deal.

Another valid issue that was raised, with Ubisoft, is how long will these authentication servers be up? Years down the track you may want to give Assassins Creed 2 another play, will you have to rely on those authentication server to still be up?

The official response: “If for some reason, and this is not in the plan, but if for some reason all of the servers someday go away, then we can release a patch so that the game can be played in single-player without an online connection. But that’s if all of the servers are gone.”

Unfortunately, for Ubisoft again, this response exposes a major flaw in their new DRM, which is that the authentication approach is absolutely useless if it can be patched. Lo and behold, within 24 hours of release the DRM was cracked which allowed pirates to by-pass the authentication process.

For more information on Ubisoft’s DRM see http://support.uk.ubi.com/online-services-platform

Noob Saibot

About the Author

Nightshadow is an avid PC gamer, but occasionally strays off to the Xbox360 for some console action. Frequent writer for Gameolio - he has a strange obsession for uniquely flavored soft drinks such as Cherry Coke, Passion Fruit, and Buzz Monkey. Currently Playing: - Mafia II - Age of Conan - Red Dead Redemption