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Old Oct 10th, 2009, 4:29 AM   #1
Javaguru
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Question How can you tell if a computer has had internet connectivity in the last week or two?

If you dislike long posts, please skip to the last paragraph.

I'm going into the commercial software development business, and I plan on carving myself out a nice bit of pie for myself. However, something has crossed my mind: Piracy

Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against people who pirate software, (I have several close friends who do,) but I have to protect my money-maker. Still, I don't want to have to be a fag about IP crud. How do I avoid this? Uber-leet software protection (or DRM, but I don't use that word because it's historically linked to horribly mangled and annoying systems that actually only piss off legitimate users), of course!

Here's what I'm thinking: a serial-based system that, if possible, connects to my server to make sure its registration info is legit. The problem is, people could just disconnect their internet connection temporarily to avoid the check (Microsoft and Adobe checkers have this flaw), and making the check mandatory disenfranchises anyone who might genuinely not have internet access.

I've thought about it, and my solution is this: have the program check to see if the computer has had access to the internet in the past, say, week or two, and if not, allow the check to be skipped. If it has recently had connectivity, sound the alarms. The problem is, how the heck can you figure out how long it has been since a computer has had internet connectivity? I mostly want to figure this out on Windows (even though the program will be cross-platform, Windows is the one this will be most important on), but if I could make it work on Linux and Mac as well, that would be neat.

If this cannot be done, my workaround would be to have the program wait until such time internet connectivity is available (by checking the status of network adapters of course, or someone could just block my app with a firewall), then enforce a check.

Basically, all my ramblings in a nutshell:
Is there a way to programmatically tell how long it has been since a Windows computer has had internet connectivity, and is such a feat also accomplishable on Linux, Mac, or Unix?
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Old Oct 10th, 2009, 6:10 PM   #2
CppBuilder2006
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Re: How can you tell if a computer has had internet connectivity in the last week or two?

Quote:
Is there a way to programmatically tell how long it has been since a Windows computer has had internet connectivity, and is such a feat also accomplishable on Linux, Mac, or Unix?
I know one can write a program that computes how long you were connected.
but the program must be running during the connection. it can be a hidden but running.
I can pm you were you can download such a program without source code. but I'm not sure when I'll return to this forum again. i'm busy these days.
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 12:38 PM   #3
Stephen
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Re: How can you tell if a computer has had internet connectivity in the last week or two?

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Originally Posted by CppBuilder2006 View Post
I know one can write a program that computes how long you were connected..
Just use Net apis...
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 1:14 AM   #4
Booooze
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Post Re: How can you tell if a computer has had internet connectivity in the last week or two?

I can only think of a few solutions, however, still they are not fool proof. I think no matter what, someone will crack it eventually. There's bound to be some way around it. It is possible to deter people though.

If you want to check for internet connectivity in the past weeks or so, you would need to look for indicators. You would have to look for files that have been modified via the internet. For example, you could check browser history, or cookies. However, it is still possible to have an intranet. Therefore, if you find a file, you have to confirm somehow that it is somehow related to the internet. Not exactly a sound solution.

Another option would be to check and see if the network connection in the control panel has been disconnected. However, they may not have an internet connection (as you mentioned before). You would then have to monitor the connection and call the user on it should it become activated and you are aware that they have pirated your software. But that could be seen as malicious coding. It's a fine line depending how you do it.

On a side note, I would never use either of these solutions.
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #5
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Re: How can you tell if a computer has had internet connectivity in the last week or two?

First off, that's a horrible idea if you want to actually SELL software.
What about my laptop here? Docked, it is connected to out network and the internet. I undock it, take it out on the floor somewhere, and it is not connected to a network. Now, I go fire up your uber-l33t software that I paid for, and it yells at me?... nope. Instant delete, no matter how useful.

If you absolutely must, a one-time registration is fine, and generally acceptable. Constant "Phone home" deals are not. Besides all of that, there is no protection you can devise that will not be broken in a month or two if the product is really that good.
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