Software cracking means the removal or disabling of software copy protection. A Wikipedia definition describes it as modification of software to remove protection methods, copy protection, trial/demo version, serial number, hardware key etc. The process modifies the encoded copy protection features so that unlicensed copies are produced. This involves loading the .exe or executable file into a hexadecimal code editor or debugger where it is manipulated. The essence is to make the program perform the modified opcode through the normal procedure without copy protection or skip the normal steps. A notable instance is how cracks are able to remove the limitation in some trial software and activation.
Disassembling the .exe or executable file is achieved through a reverse engineering technique which automatically analyses the codes used. The idea is to discover development algorithm to its very root. Crackers also take this advantage to include elements of Trojans and spyware in the program code which makes it difficult for some antivirus or antispyware scanners to detect because they come as part of the source code.
The reason why people choose to download cracks, pirated or hacked software is to evade the cost of the original software which to some extent, depending on an individual’s income seems exorbitant. That’s the reason why they take the sacrifice to download crackers at the expense of the value of their data. Out of sheer ignorance people have fallen prey to cyber criminals who take advantage of such a situation ad further contributing to their cyber network.
Downloading cracks is done at owner’s risk as there is likelihood of getting spyware and Trojans along. The fact that you have been downloading cracks for long does not guarantee a safe journey. It could be your Antivirus or Antispyware scanner has failed to detect them. Some Spyware or Trojans are written with codes that are difficult for Antivirus software or antispyware to detect but they are there right inside your computer doing tasks behind the scenes. Perhaps you should ask yourself why would one sit down and write cracking software and offer it for free. There is always a small fee that you pay indirectly because bye and bye some information is being taken out of your computer without your knowledge. Most crackers will include Trojans which allow the software cracker to gain access your computer behind your back. This is a dangerous situation as your computer could be turned into a spam generator or a transmitting node in a zombie network. You cannot see this with your very eyes and the experience of using the software seems enjoyable nevertheless. Blindly, we have been meant to believe that this is the best option so far at our disposal without regard of how much it costs to develop the software that we want to crack.
Cracking software is in its natural essence a way of stealing someone’s property. Some crackers will ask for a small contribution in order to access their cracking software. Look, who is benefiting here! Someone who failed to come up with an idea to develop the software and only wants to reap where he did not sow by hacking someone's software?
If you are using a good browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer 8, the moment you go to untrustworthy sites such as warez you will be warned of that site’s content. So the decision to proceed rests in you! Such sites tend to exploit the security weaknesses in your browser in order to install malicious software without your consent which may eventually lead to undesirable browser or computer behaviour.
Installing cracks or hacked software if at all should be done with extra caution. Of course some cracks work just normal but, how sure? Software cracking is considered illegal and it is referred to as pirated software though it is difficult to trace the culprits due to the sophistication of the network they have shielded themselves into. Business Software Alliance says: “Using illegal copies of software has other serious consequences. Software publishers offer their legitimate customers a wide array of services besides the copy of the program itself: user manuals and other documentation, notification of problems, training, support services, repairs, and upgrades. A legitimate copy ensures that you’re getting a quality product produced by the rightful owner of the program. An illegal copy provides none of these benefits”.
Pirated, cracked or hacked software distribution is illegal and punishable by law resulting in civil or criminal fines or imprisonment. The consequences of using illegal, cracked or pirated software cannot be overemphasized. Others include bugs which can damage or compromise your data. It now becomes expensive to maintain pirated software than having a legal copy (http://www.bsa.org). Why would one opt to jeopardize the security and value of their data through a compromised copy of software? You always should have a good antivirus or spyware software from a trusted source to avoid the consequences associated with malicious software.