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SecuROM™ Frequently Asked Questions

1. General information
1.1. What is SecuROM™?
1.2. How does SecuROM™ work?
1.3. Who benefits from using SecuROM™?
2. Consumer information
2.1. How does SecuROM™ interact with the Internet?
2.2. Is SecuROM™ actually loaded onto my computer?
2.3. Does SecuROM™ install a driver or any other software at the kernel level ("Ring 0") of my PC?
2.4. Is SecuROM™ harming my computer?
2.5 Does SecuROM™ decrease the performance of my PC?
2.6. Does SecuROM™ change settings in my anti-virus program?
2.7. Does SecuROM™ change settings in my firewall?
2.8 Does SecuROM™ open ports on my PC, so that my PC becomes accessible from the internet or from other networks?
2.9. Can the installation of SecuROM™ disable my burning or emulation programs?
2.10 Does SecuROM™ disable any other application?
2.11. Does SecuROM™ damage my CD/DVD/Blu-ray drive or burner?
2.12. Does SecuROM™ disable my printer or scanner?
2.13. Does SecuROM™ cause my digital camera or camcorder to no longer be recognized?
2.14. What is a rootkit and does SecuROM™ have one?
2.15. Why does my rootkit detector flag SecuROM™ as containing a rootkit?
2.16. Is SecuROM™ spying on me?
3. Install and uninstall details
3.1. What is a registry key and why does SecuROM™ have an entry there that says "!CAUTION! NEVER DELETE OR CHANGE ANY KEY"?
3.2. How do I remove SecuROM™ from my machine?
3.3 Why does SecuROM™ remain on the PC, even after uninstalling a protected application?
3.4 Why does SecuROM™ sometimes remain active in the background, even if the protected application is not running?
4. Online authentication and license information
4.1 Can I re-sell a SecuROM™ protected application, or would the limited numbers of activations prevent such a re-sell?
4.2 Does SecuROM™ periodically compare game data with the transmitted license values, or does this comparison only happen once upon the first online activation?
4.3 What happens if I change my system configuration? Do I need to obtain all my online licenses again?
4.4 What is the license information, and why can’t it simply be removed from my PC?
5. Technical and system requirements information
5.1. Which applications can be protected with SecuROM™?
5.2. Which Macintosh operating systems are supported by end-users?
5.3. Which Windows operating systems are supported by end-users?
5.4. How compatible is the SecuROM™ system with CD- and DVD-drives on the market?
5.5. Can a SecuROM™-protected title be loaded to a HDD to speed up the title's performance?
6. Workflow and master configuration questions
6.1. Is SecuROM™ a cost-effective solution?
6.2. How much does SecuROM™ cost?
6.3. Does SecuROM™ offer custom copy control?
6.4. Can SecuROM™ be used to protect a multi-disc set?
6.5. Does SecuROM™ support multi-player game configurations?
6.6. Can more than one application be protected with SecuROM™?
6.7. Can patches be distributed after the release of a SecuROM™-protected title?
6.8. If a title is available in several languages, should all versions be protected?
6.9. Should pre-release or beta versions be protected?
6.10. How secure is the SecuROM™ DRM system?
6.11. How dynamic is the SecuROM™ DRM system?
6.12. What is the turn time for the SecuROM™ encryption process?
6.13. Can I test my protected software before sending it to the replicator?
6.14. Is there any additional mastering work necessary for replication?
7. Where can I go if I have more questions regarding SecuROM™?


1. General information

1.1 What is SecuROM™?

SecuROM™ is a Digital Rights Management (DRM) system for content distributed via CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or electronically. It was developed and is maintained by Sony DADC Austria.

1.2 How does SecuROM™ work?

SecuROM™ uses two components for disc-based copy control:
1) Software, in the form of strong encryption, and
2) Hardware, in the form of a special signature applied to the disc during manufacturing. The protected executable of a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM title is tied to the signature on the disc by an authentication routine executed at program launch (this can be customized as described under item 6.3 below). If the original disc is detected, the program launches properly. If an illegally copied disc is detected in the local disc drive, the program will not launch and the end-user will receive an error message.

SecuROM™ Product Activation (DRM for online activation and digital distribution) works in much the same way. The application is protected with strong encryption and an authentication license is placed on the end user’s machine via an online activation. If the authentication license is detected on the enduser’s machine, the program launches properly.

SecuROM™ technology suppresses CD-ROM to CD-R copying, DVD-ROM to DVD-R copying, Internet image distribution, and professional piracy.

SecuROM™ offers many different configurations, including different distribution options (on disc or digital download) and different authentication methods (original disc check, online authentication, control of usage rights, etc.).

1.3 Who benefits from using SecuROM™?

Any software developer or publisher who has content subject to illegitimate copying can benefit from the use of SecuROM™ copy control.


2. Consumer information

2.1 How does SecuROM™ interact with the Internet?

SecuROM™ is available in two formats: disc-based and online activation-based. The disc version does not use any Internet connectivity for operation. The online activation-based system, SecuROM™ Product Activation, uses an Internet connection to request a license for the desired application. No personal information is collected, stored, or transmitted during this or any SecuROM™ process.

Both the disc-based system and SecuROM™ Product Activation technologies can be combined. Different configuration options are available to the publisher.

2.2 Is SecuROM™ actually loaded onto my computer?

SecuROM™ is a DRM system used by software publishers to protect their intellectual property. In the course of applying the solution, certain files are placed onto the computer for the system to work properly.

2.3 Does SecuROM™ install a driver or any other software at the kernel level ("Ring 0") of my PC?

No, SecuROM™ does not install any components or perform any processes at the kernel or ring 0 level. All SecuROM™ components and processes occur at ring 3, the normal application level.

2.4 Is SecuROM™ harming my computer?

No, SecuROM™ does not damage a computer in any way. Great care has been taken to make sure the SecuROM™ system is sound and compatible.

2.5 Does SecuROM™ decrease the performance of my PC?

No,SecuROM™ does not influence PC performance. SecuROM™ is a library integrated into the protected application, and recent versions of SecuROM™ do not contain any stand alone applications.

Some older versions of SecuROM™ install the “User Access Service”, which allows a user to share DRM licenses among multiple Operating System user accounts. The User Access Service consumes very little memory (a few hundred kBytes) and virtually no CPU power. This service does not cause a performance decrease.

2.6 Does SecuROM™ change settings in my anti-virus program?

No, SecuROM™ makes no setting changes to any anti-virus program(s), or any software for that matter.

2.7 Does SecuROM™ change settings in my firewall?

No, SecuROM™ makes no setting changes to any firewall program(s), or any software for that matter.
If a SecuROM™ protected application is configured to require an online authentication, firewalls will notice this process and will inform the user that an internet connection is being requested.

Such standard firewall messages do not mean that SecuROM™ is opening a network port on the user’s PC for incoming network connections.

2.8 Does SecuROM™ open ports on my PC, so that my PC becomes accessible from the internet or from other networks?

No, SecuROM™ does not open any ports. SecuROM™ online activation connects to the license server with regular, outgoing, encrypted HTTP connections. No backdoor or network port is opened on your PC.

2.9 Can the installation of SecuROM™ disable my burning or emulation programs?

No, SecuROM™ does not automatically disable any burning or emulation programs. Since some emulation programs can be used to circumvent SecuROM™, it may be necessary for the user to manually disable such programs before a software title protected with SecuROM™ can be successfully launched.

2.10 Does SecuROM™ disable any other application?

No, SecuROM™ will never disable any application. It does, however, look for applications which can be used for malicious or hacking purposes. If it identifies such applications on the PC, it will be necessary for the user to disable them before using the product protected by SecuROM™.

2.11 Does SecuROM™ damage my CD/DVD/Blu-ray drive or burner?

No, SecuROM™ does not damage any optical drives.

2.12 Does SecuROM™ disable my printer or scanner?

No, SecuROM™ does not disable any printers or scanners and does not change any settings.

2.13 Does SecuROM™ cause my digital camera or camcorder to no longer be recognized?

No, SecuROM™ does not change a PC’s ability to recognize a camera or camcorder

2.14 What is a rootkit and does SecuROM™ have one?

A "rootkit" can be described as software or a set of software tools intended to conceal running processes, files or system data from the operating system and which can open ports to allow remote access to the system. A "rootkit" makes it possible for viruses or other malicious programs ("malware") to hide content on a user's PC. In this way, a virus or other malware may remain undetected, even if updated anti-virus software is installed. SecuROM™ does not use any rootkit technology.

2.15 If SecuROM™ does not contain a rootkit, why does my rootkit detector flag SecuROM™ as containing a rootkit?

There is no rootkit in SecuROM™. Our understanding is that there is one rootkit detector that incorrectly flags SecuROM™ as containing a rootkit. This is an incorrect detection by one software program. To our knowledge, no other rootkit detectors do so.

2.16 Is SecuROM™ spying on me?

No, SecuROM™ does not collect any personal information.

3. Install and uninstall details

3.1 What is a registry key and why does SecuROM™ have an entry named "!CAUTION! NEVER DELETE OR CHANGE ANY KEY"

The Windows registry is a directory which stores settings and options for the operating system for Microsoft Windows. It contains information and settings for all the hardware, operating system software, most non-operating system software, users, preferences of the PC, etc. As part of the SecuROM DRM system, certain license information is stored within this "!CAUTION! NEVER DELETE OR CHANGE ANY KEY" registry key, contained in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SecuROM and/or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\SecuROM.

The reason for naming this key in this way is to prevent users from inadvertently deleting keys/values stored beneath that key, which would prevent SecuROM™ from working properly.

Newer SecuROM™ versions store the license information in a registry key named “License information”, similarly contained in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SecuROM and/or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\SecuROM.

3.2 How do I remove SecuROM™ from my machine?

To remove SecuROM™ related files please visit https://support.securom.com/removaltool/

3.3 Why does SecuROM™ remain on the PC, even after uninstalling a protected application?

SecuROM™ itself is a library, integrated into the actual application, and not a standalone application. In this sense, SecuROM™ is similar to other software libraries, like 3D engines or spell checkers, which are integrated into other applications. SecuROM™ does, however, use data storage and libraries which are required to fullfil its purpose, much like other libraries also use their own data (e.g., spellcheck dictionaries) and libraries (e.g., 3D graphics calculation or game physics libraries).

Since SecuROM™ is not a standalone application, no executable SecuROM™ “application” remains on the system after deinstallation. However, DRM license information remains stored on the PC, as described in section 4.4.

3.4 Why does SecuROM™ sometimes remain active in the background, even if the protected application is not running?

By default, SecuROM™ does not install any permanently active applications, services, or drivers. Some older versions of SecuROM™ protected applications use a special configuration which will install a Windows Service called “User Access Service”. This service allows a user to share DRM licenses among multiple users of the same PC.
This service is only used during the initial SecuROM™ authentication upon the start of the application. At all other times, the service runs in the “idle” mode. This means that it is passively waiting for a SecuROM™ protected application to perform the respective DRM authentication during the startup of that protected application.

4. Online authentication and license information

4.1 Can I re-sell a SecuROM™ protected application, or would the limited numbers of activations prevent such a re-sell?

SecuROM™ supports an activation “revoke” process which makes your previous license available to another user. However, each publisher must decide whether or not to include the “revoke” feature in its application.

4.2 Does SecuROM™ periodically compare game data with the transmitted license values, or does this comparison only happen once upon the first online activation?

We should distinguish between

(a) the online request for a license and the retrieval of such a license during the online activation process, and

(b) the verification of the license at each application start.

Typically, step (a) is performed only once, while step (b) happens at every start. However, publishers can configure SecuROM™ to request an online license periodically. This would mean that after the online activation, you can use the application for the time period selected by the publisher. If you start the application after that period, you would be requested to re-obtain the license. SecuROM™ itself is configurable and supports both cases (initial activation only or periodic re-activation).

4.3 What happens if I change my system configuration? Do I need to obtain all of my online licenses again?

SecuROM™ has built in tolerances to allow for changes in the system configuration. Typically, you should be able to use your activated applications after some system changes. The default setting in SecuROM™ allows you to use your activated applications upon system changes like a replaced graphics card, upgraded Windows version, or a faster CPU.

However, SecuROM™ can be configured by the publisher to be more lenient or more strict with regards to changes to the system configuration. This means that publishers can configure the tolerance threshold at their own discretion, so there might be applications which do not tolerate a single change and there might be other applications which tolerate many major changes.

4.4 What is the license information, and why can’t it simply be removed from my PC?

DRM license information stores the usage rights of DRM protected applications. License information is not executable code. SecuROM™ does not install or invoke any other code, EXE, DLL, service, or driver along with this license information. License information does not contain any information related to the execution of additional code. It only contains relevant usage rights configuration information (e.g., how many days are left for a free trial period of an application) so that SecuROM™ can accomplish its DRM functionality.

The stored information depends on the respective protection settings used for a specific application. SecuROM™ supports many different configurations. Some typical examples follow.

Note: All values (number of launches, minutes of playtime, etc.) given below are mere example values. These values can be configured in the SecuROM™ protection tool by the publisher.

Protection setting Information stored in the DRM license information
Online activation required Unlock code received after online activation. If SecuROM™ finds that information, it knows that the application has already been successfully activated.
Further information stored here is the serial code as input by the user.
Allow only a certain number of launches Launch counter. SecuROM™ will refuse to launch the application if the launch counter has exceeded the maximum number of launches as configured in the application (EXE) during protection by the publisher.
Time Limit (for example, the publisher can set the application to run for only 60 minutes) SecuROM™ stores the minutes of playtime that have passed. Once the time limit, has been reached, the application will stop running.
Day Limit (for example, the publisher can set the application to to run for only 10 days after the first launch) SecuROM™ stores the date and time of the first launch. In each subsequent launch (e.g., some days later), SecuROM™ will verify whether this launch is still within the allowed timeframe.

Other protection options supported by SecuROM™ are to check for an original disc only the first time, every nth launch, every nth day, etc. Other similar protection options are also available.

Launch count information, activation information, consumed playtime information, allowed timeframe, etc. are all stored within these registry keys. Note that this information is stored in an encrypted manner for obvious reasons, as otherwise it would be easily possible to cheat the DRM system.

Why is this information protected against deletion?
Allowing for the easy deletion of this information would essentially remove the copy protection from the application, allowing easy copying of the publisher’s intellectual property. Deleting this information also impacts SecuROM™’s DRM functionality. Some examples to illustrate this:

Protection setting Consequence if DRM license information is deleted
Online activation required Imagine that someone first correctly activates (unlocks) an application and then deletes the DRM license information.
SecuROM™ would then believe that the application has not yet been unlocked and would ask for a new activation. This would result in the user “losing” an activation.
Allow up to only 10 launches of an application Imagine that someone launches such an application 10 times, and then deletes the DRM license information.
SecuROM™ would then believe that the application has not yet been launched and would again permit 10 additional launches.

Obviously, this is not in the interest of the rights owner.

5. Technical and system requirements information

5.1 Which applications can be protected with SecuROM™?

SecuROM™ supports 32-bit executables for Windows written in C, C++, Pascal, and Macromedia Director as well as software in Macintosh format. Other formats may qualify for protection. Please contact support@SecuROM.com for additional information.

5.2 Which Macintosh operating systems are supported by SecuROM™?

SecuROM™ supports Carbon Applications (OS 10.1 or higher), Macromedia Director MX (OS 10.1 or higher) and Mach-O (OS 10.2 or higher).

For more information please contact support@SecuROM.com.

5.3 Which Windows operating systems are supported by SecuROM™?

SecuROM™ supports Windows™ 98 Second Edition, Windows™ 2000, Windows™ Me, Windows™ XP and Windows™ Vista.

5.4 How compatible is the SecuROM™ system with CD and DVD drives on the market?

Historically, SecuROM™ offers the highest CD/DVD drive compatibility of any DRM system on the market. Incompatibility occurrences are usually resolved in a short period of time.

5.5 Can a SecuROM™-protected title be loaded to an HDD to speed up the title's performance?

Yes. All of the content of a SecuROM™-protected title can be installed to a hard disk. In fact, most protected titles use a full hard drive installation. However, in order for the title to launch properly, the genuine SecuROM™ CD-ROM/DVD-ROM must be present in a local drive. Once authentication takes place, the title can run solely from the hard disk.

6. Workflow and master configuration questions

6.1 Is SecuROM™ a cost-effective solution?

Financial models show that an investment in SecuROM™ reaches a break-even point at piracy rates as low as 1%. Higher piracy rates yield a greater return. Please contact our sales group through our Online Inquiry section for more details.

6.2 How much does SecuROM™ cost?

Please use the Online Inquiry section for pricing information.

6.3 Does SecuROM™ offer custom copy control?

Yes. SecuROM™s Advanced Programming Interface (SecuROM™ API) allows custom copy control. This requires that some additional code be placed in the program code to work hand-in-hand with the SecuROM™ encryption engine. The use of this feature allows for "programmer-placed" authentication checks for original CD, valid licenses, and executable modifications (e.g. checksums). Contact support@SecuROM.com for more details.

6.4 Can SecuROM™ be used to protect a multi-disc set?

Yes. A typical application of a multi-disc set consists of multiple install discs and one disc which is designated as the "play" disc. The SecuROM™ authentication signature can be applied to any and all discs. The signature does not have to be on the same disc as the protected executable. Please contact support@SecuROM.com for additional details.

6.5 Does SecuROM™ support multi-player game configurations?

Yes. Depending on the configuration options chosen by the publisher, each participant will require an original SecuROM™ protected disc in their local drive, and/or a valid SecuROM™ Product Activation license.

6.6 Can more than one application be protected with SecuROM™?

Yes. There is no limit to the number of applications that can be protected on a single SecuROM™- protected disc. If this is a desired option, please contact support@SecuROM.com for details on how to best encrypt multiple titles.

6.7 Can patches be distributed after the release of a SecuROM™-protected title?

Yes. If you wish to release a patch of a protected title, updated executables can be encrypted using the same project on the SecuROM™ server that was used with the original release. The patch can be tested and then released. The authentication routine for the patch will be the same as for the original. An added benefit to re-encryption of an executable for patch release is the ability to take advantage of any updates to the security or compatibility of SecuROM™ made since the original title release.

6.8 If a title is available in several languages, should all versions be protected?

Yes. Care should be taken to avoid release of any unprotected versions of a title. It is fairly simple for hackers to swap out an unprotected executable for a protected one and burn unprotected copies, defeating the intent of copy control.

6.9 Should pre-release or beta versions be protected?

Yes. If the beta version contains an executable that can be easily modified to run the protected title, once again, pirated duplicates may appear. The unprotected executable may even find its way onto the Internet and impact sales. One strategy for beta or press release versions is to distribute a protected title on CD-R and link the executable to a title-specific SecuROM™ disc. Contact support@SecuROM.com for more details.

6.10 How secure is the SecuROM™ DRM system?

SecuROM™ offers the highest level of security against one-to-one copies and other circumvention methods.

6.11 How dynamic is the SecuROM™ DRM system?

The SecuROM™ DRM system is under continuous improvement. Security and compatibility issue improvements require upgrades to the SecuROM™ encryption engine. Upgrades, as they become available, are loaded on the server side. No upgrade to the local encryption software is necessary. All SecuROM™ customers are notified of updates with corresponding release notes.

6.12 What is the turn time for the SecuROM™ encryption process?

An executable is protected using a 128 bit, SSL Internet connection and is received during the same session. The SecuROM™ server is available 24/7. Consequently, unlike other protection technologies, SecuROM™ offers virtually instant encryption.

6.13 Can I test my protected software before sending it to the replicator?

There is no charge for doing multiple encryptions of software. Consequently, an executable can be protected and tested throughout the development phase. Pre-production testing is accomplished by using a publisher-unique Universal Key Disc (UKD). UKDs are supplied to the publisher at no charge and are included with the software CD shipment. Charges apply only upon replication of the actual title.

6.14 Is there any additional mastering work necessary for replication?

No. The master CD or DVD is sent to an approved SecuROM™ enabled replicator without any additional steps (other than inclusion of the protected executable). The publisher should notify the replicator as to the location and name of the protected executable(s). Also, if the executable is embedded in an installer, a method for extracting it should be supplied. Please contact our sales group through our Online Inquiry section for a complete listing of SecuROM™ enabled plants.

7. Where can I go if I have more questions regarding SecuROM™?

The SecuROM™ support team is glad to answer your additional questions not covered by these FAQs. Please email to support@securom.com.

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