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Hackers crack Ubisoft always-online DRM controls

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Hackers have overcome Ubisoft's controversial DRM system that relied on constant connection to the internet for games to function.

A crack for Ubisoft’s anti-piracy system published by a group called Skid Row allows gamers to circumvent the controls for games such as Assassin's Creed II. A message from the group on a gamers' forum sets out the group's agenda: allowing legitimate copies of PC games to be played without an internet connection, rather than facilitating piracy. Skid Row cheekily thanks Ubisoft for posing an interesting intellectual challenge.

Thank you Ubisoft, this was quiete a challenge for us, but nothing stops the leading force from doing what we do. Next time focus on the game and not on the DRM. It was probably horrible for all legit users. We just make their lifes easier.

This release is an accomplishment of weeks of investigating, experimenting, testing and lots of hard work. We know that there is a server emulator out in the open, which makes the game playable, but when you look at our cracked content, you will know that it can't be compared to that. Our work does not construct any program deviation or any kind of host file paradox solutions. Install game and copy the cracked content, it's that simple.

Chris Boyd (AKA PaperGhost), a security researcher at Sunbelt Software and a long-time gamer, Told The Register that Ubisoft's controls were fundamentally misconceived.

“In general, it seems DRM restrictions in gaming are becoming more intrusive and creating problems for genuine customers, rather than the pirates who happily bypass these measures every time," Boyd said. "PC gaming should be about portability - what use are games you can't play at the airport or on a train if you can't get online?

"We already see layered DRM in gaming - for example, the Ubisoft DRM is used if you buy certain titles on Steam, the PC content delivery system which also ties games to user accounts. Eventually we could see games with so many restrictions and requirements needed to play that they would be all but unusable to everybody but the pirates. This would clearly not be a good situation for either the consumer or the games publisher.” ®

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