The cat-and-mouse game between pirates and Denuvo begins

2 min read


For a long time now, Denuvo’s anti-tampering technology has been the gold standard in videogame piracy protection. PC games are usually cracked and available to download within hours of retail release, sometimes even before. Denuvo’s changed that, making games that employ the system night uncrackable – even prompting prolific cracking groups to claim that cracked games may go the way of the dodo.

Last month, there were claims that the Denuvo protection in Rise of the Tomb Raider was cracked, but without released, working files those claims were hard to verify. This weekend, not one but two ways of bypassing Denuvo seem to have surfaced.

The first was discovered by a cracker going by the name of Voksi. He created a workaround for Doom by using a custom loader to swop out the Steam AppID for the freely playable demo version of DOOM with the one from the full game – tricking Steam and Denuvo in to thinking the full game was just the demo, allowing unhindered progress through the entire game. The same workaround was applied to other Denuvo games like Rise of the Tomb Raider. Denuvo has already fixed this particular exploit.

But there’s another one. Russian cracking group CONSPIR4CY (aka CPY) have released a fully-cracked release of Rise of the Tomb Raider that doesn’t require a dummy Steam account, and just replaces the EXE like pirated games have done for years. While no other Denuvo games seem to have been cracked using whatever method CPY is utilising here, anecdotal reports suggest it could work for other Denuvo protected games.

Is this the end for Denuvo’s run as the premier suite in copy-protection, or just the beginning of a brand new cat-and-mouse game between pirates and those seeking to block them?

Last Updated: August 10, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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