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VP-ASP New User

143 Posts

Posted - February 15 2007 :  07:14:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was searching for a code to prevent people from copying my images. In doing so I stumbled upon something else and was wondering what opinions others had.
I found a java code to prevent someone from copying images.
Then I found that you could have your source code encrypted.
Has anyone done this or is it already an option in VPASP.
What would be the ramifications of having the shopping cart encrypted and would it work with VPASP.
Lastly is it even worth it.

Senior Member

United Kingdom
1898 Posts

Posted - February 15 2007 :  07:35:47  Show Profile  Visit devshb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
You can't really encrypt asp/html/javascript code because if you did then it wouldn't work/run; all you can do is obfuscate it (ie make it look weird and do some weird things which make it impossible for another developer to follow).

If someone advertises encryption for asp/html/javascript then they're not telling the whole truth because true encryption of the code wouldn't allow anyone to run it apart from you (ie people browsing the site wouldn't be able to see any of your site's pages).

What they're really selling is a form of obfuscation; people can still technically rip-off the images/html (or the asps if you're selling asp software), but it becomes so awkward for them to work out what the obfuscated code does that it's not worth their while. (ie if it'd take 2 man-months for them to work out what the code does, but it'd take 1 man-week to build the code themselves from scratch, then it's not worth ripping you off)

We'll be releasing an obfuscation/licensing service along these lines some day in the near future, where people can obfuscate their asp/html/javascript files and use/maintain license keys for people who want to buy/use their software.

There's no 100% way of truly encrypting these things as that'd make it unusable for the people who buy/use the software, but you can make it obfuscated in such a way that that at the end of the day its complexity leads it to becoming "looking" like encryption.

"Obfuscation" has lots of elements to it, such as renaming variables/functions to be meaningless, adding spurious comments and uncalled/unused chunks of code, taking-out the proper comments, and loads of other tricks; if it's done properly then it has the same kind of effect as encryption as far as software protection goes, but it's important to note that it's still not as 100% protected as true encryption (but true encryption would render the software unusable).

For image protection, watermarking them is probably the easiest/best thing to do (lots of software will let you do that as a batch-job), because if your image is displayable on a browser (regardless of any javascript/html that's in place) then people will always be able to save the images. Unless you use something like flash to display the images, but that'd make things slow to load and most users won't have it installed. It's a similar issue to encryption versus obfuscation; 100% protection would end up making the site unusable by a lot of users, so it's a compromise.

For obfuscation, you'd usually want to only obfuscate certain portions of the code and not others, so that, for example with asps, it's still seen as open-source, but there are some core functions which are necessary for it to work but which people would never need to change, and you then obfuscate those core functions only.

See also:
that's our obfuscation service; it's actually working/live/available at the moment, but the licensing aspect isn't included yet, so we'll only be actively promoting/advertising it once that licensing aspect is added. At that stage we'll then be using it for our own addons too.

Simon Barnaby
[email protected]
Web Design, Online Marketing and VPASP addons

Edited by - devshb on February 15 2007 08:11:45
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VP-ASP New User

143 Posts

Posted - February 15 2007 :  08:40:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks a lot for your insight and explanation.
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