Protecting .NET Applications from Unauthorized Copying and Distribution RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have designed something that I am going to develop into a desktop application.

    Using .NET is one of the possible ways to do this that I am considering. Another is the Adobe Independent Runtime (AIR), which I would sell via InMarket.

    In my initial browsing of potential sales channels, I have repeatedly come across statements that indicate that .NET products are either difficult or impossible to copy protect using standard tools. In addition, one of the third-party solutions recommended to me states that .NET applications are difficult to protect, requiring a work-around involving the use of an unmanaged dll.

    I would like to be able to distribute my product over high visibility, high traffic digital retailers like GamersGate, Game Downloads, Impulse, and Steam.

    I need security against casual, blatant copying and distribution that will work with these kinds of retailers and will not require extensive support on my side. My primary interest in .NET is my expectation that .NET might be a way to achieve this as it cannot currently be done with Adobe's AIR framework. (I understand that I cannot protect my product against skilled and determined thieves, but I do not want to give up my product to kiddie-scripters and casual parasites.)

    Is there a way to do this using .NET?

    Friday, June 24, 2011 4:24 PM


  • Yes, there are many 3rd party solutions that provide quite decent protection for .NET products.

    Obfuscation alone does a lot, and will discourage and prevent all causal thieves.  If you don't feel that is adequate, there are many products that add another level of protection on top of this.


    For example, .NET Reactor is inexpensive, and adds the option to turn the .NET assembly into a mix of managed and native code that is very, very difficult to disassemble.  It will break all of the current decompilers I've seen.  In addition, it includes some rather simple (to use) licensing functionality, since protection is only half of the problem here...



    Reed Copsey, Jr. -
    If a post answers your question, please click "Mark As Answer" on that post and "Mark as Helpful".
    • Marked as answer by Paul Zhou Monday, July 4, 2011 8:00 AM
    Friday, June 24, 2011 4:44 PM