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From "Dmitry Leskov" <>
Subject RE: [OT] Securing Tomcat Applications from Reverse Engineering
Date Wed, 27 Jan 2010 09:10:05 GMT
So far only some aspects of code protection have been considered in this (off-)topic, namely
preventing illegal use and protecting the code itself as a piece of intellectual property.
However, there are at least two other scenarios that may make protection against reverse engineering

- a malicious user inside the organization that runs the application, tampering with the code
in order to disrupt its operation, steal sensitive data, and so on. 

- a hacker decompiling a legally obtained trial/demo version of a boxed app, looking for security

Note that both do not need to comprehend how the entire application works, they only need
to learn enough to determine the vector of attack. 


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Jeffrey Janner []
> Sent:	Tuesday, January 26, 2010 12:09 AM
> To:	Tomcat Users List; Tomcat Users List
> Subject:	RE: [OT] Securing Tomcat Applications from Reverse Engineering
> Good points all around.  We had the same issues with our CEO worrying about copies of
the app being passed around when we started targeting markets where piracy is fairly common.
 Eventually, we convinced him the best way to address them was via legal and marketing techniques.
 That is, a very tight license and convincing the customer that our product provides a unique
tactical advantage that they would want to give to their competitors. We did make a few technical
product changes to aid in the license compliance arena, one of which was incorporating a license
key that is uniquely and obviously tied to the company licensing the product and stored along
with the data.  The theory being that a customer (or his employee) might be willing to fork
over a copy of the code, but not their proprietary data.
> It's not perfect, but it seems to get the job done.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: André Warnier [] 
> Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 4:56 PM
> To: Tomcat Users List
> Subject: Re: [OT] Securing Tomcat Applications from Reverse Engineering
> Jeffrey Janner wrote:
> > André -
> > Welcome to the world of small business, for-profit software development.
> > This is a more common attitude that you might be aware.
> I was being somewhat ironic.  Being myself a small for-profit software 
> development business, I am well aware of the circumstances.
> ;-)
> But here are another few arguments (apart from the ones I already 
> mentioned in another post) :
> If you are a small software business whose customers are businesses that 
> use your product, and your product is good and your prices are 
> reasonable, chances are good that none of your customers is even going 
> to bother taking the time to try to copy your product.  If they 
> themselves are small/medium businesses, what would they do with it ? 
> They have their own business to run.  They are not a software company, 
> you are.
> And if they are big, they will never risk their reputation and their 
> money trying it.
> And, agreeing with another post by Leon, you are probably much better 
> off spending your time improving and supporting your product, than 
> developing ways to try protecting it from unfair copying.
> Things would be different of course if your product was something 
> destined for the mass-market, or if you intend to sell it through 
> resellers, or if your customers are themselves software companies.
> I will not mention the fact that in all of the above cases, your highest 
> level of risk is probably inside, not outside.
> And if you really insist on protecting your code, then I am afraid that 
> Java is not the best choice of tool.
> And I'll finish with another sarcastic note about code obfuscation : in 
> my experience, it is not really necessary to put a lot of effort into 
> this.  Other people's code tends to be naturally obfuscated, all by itself.> 
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