Flexera is a market leader in license management with more than 3,000 software vendors adopting its FlexNet Publisher® solution. Flexera positions its solution as enabling software vendors to keep their “honest customers honest” and to prevent unauthorized software usage. The solution originally known as FLEXlm and now known as FlexNet Publisher was first offered in 1988 and is well known and understood by the cracker community. The latest BSA Global Piracy Study revealed that 57 percent of the world’s personal computer users admit they acquire pirated software and that the commercial value of pirated software rose to $63.4 billion in 2011. Clearly, all software applications – even those with license management capabilities – are at risk of being widely pirated, overused and resulting in software vendors losing 30 percent or more of their new software license revenues.
Given the extent of FlexNet Publisher adoption in the packaged software market a large cracker knowledgebase on disabling and bypassing FlexNet license enforcement functions has grown over time that simplifies the process of cracking.
CodeArmor® Intelligence for FlexNet Publisher is a direct result of customer demand for alternative strategies to address these challenges: more than two-thirds of V.i. Labs’ large software vendor customers use FlexNet Publisher and have successfully deployed CodeArmor Intelligence to quantify misuse. These customers have accounted for the majority of $3 billion in piracy revenue loss tracked using CodeArmor Intelligence, and they are converting organizations with unauthorized software into long term paying customers.
Lack of Compliance Reporting for the ISV
Flexera offers capabilities within FlexNet Publisher (and ancillary products) to provide a software vendor’s customers with tools to manage and monitor the consumption of licenses. However, FlexNet Publisher does not provide the software vendor with any capabilities to detect and directly report customer overuse or piracy. Instead, vendors must rely on their own internal intelligence gathered from field sales or support or customer audits to ensure license compliance.
With CodeArmor Intelligence, vendors can directly detect and gather forensic evidence of inadvertent overuse as well as overt piracy. It is the only product based solution to enable ISVs to centrally gather intelligence on overuse and piracy of their applications. CodeArmor Intelligence integrates within applications using FlexNet Publisher without requiring any licensing framework changes and operates transparently within customer environments.
Key Benefits of CodeArmor Intelligence for FlexNet Publisher
- Enables software vendors to detect and report on when FlexNet licensing is circumvented or compromised
- Automatically and transparently identifies adoption of pirated versions of software by customer and prospect organizations
- Uncovers and quantifies the extent of customer license overuse
- Enables and accelerates a software vendor’s revenue recovery efforts through compliance programs by centrally reporting accurate software usage data
- Easily integrates with FlexNet Publisher with minimal engineering effort
- Works with any FlexNet license model (floating, concurrent, and node locked license)
FlexNet Publisher Piracy Detection
CodeArmor Intelligence supports multiple approaches for detecting when FlexNet Publisher license enforcement functions have been disabled or bypassed. The most common approaches that customers have encountered are:
- Binary tampering
- Tamper Resistant License (TRL) class break
- Counterfeit License keys
- Known FlexNet Publisher Vulnerabilities
FlexNet Publisher Overuse Reporting
Given the complexity of enterprise customer environments, a lack of software asset management policies, and multiple licensing models, significant license overuse can occur in large, networked environments. V.i. Labs’ customers have successfully implemented CodeArmor Intelligence to:
- determine the number of machines running cloned node locked licenses
- the total concurrent licenses exceeded
- detection of unauthorized cloned networked license servers
- the extent of software running on unauthorized virtual machines
Collection and Centralized Reporting of
FlexNet License Features
CodeArmor Intelligence provides a highly customized data collection and reporting capability that can be used to develop intelligence on ISV product features delineated within a FlexNet license file. By using the CodeArmor Intelligence Application Programming Interface (API) ISVs can collect feature use data, build version information, and critical workflow information in line with the default compliance data. Once the extended data is collected it can be automatically parsed, filtered, and reported within the ISV dashboard.