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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Hardware protection against software piracy

A system that prevents illicit duplication of proprietary software is suggested. It entails the customization of the programs for each computer by encryption. The use of a public key cryptogram for this purpose means that anyone can customize programs, but neither other programmers nor the people having complete access to the target computer can obtain copies that will run on other machines. A possible implementation of the system is considered in some detail. It is based on a hardware security unit that is attached to the computer and that decrypts and obeys some parts of the program.

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