Kappa—use of hacked software leads to ‘damaging’ decisions

Pirated versions of software may seem right—but come with a health warning.

Pirated versions of Kappa Engineering Ecrin and Emeraude packages were recently posted to an illegal website. Kappa has initiated legal action against the site’s host and warns that users of the pirated versions are in infringement of its intellectual and commercial property rights. Kappa has posted a warning on its website that while the ‘cracked’ versions of the software appear to perform correctly, they will produce incorrect results. Users of the illegal versions run the risk of legal action. Moreover, using the results may lead to ‘damaging’ decisions.

The pirates used a well-known weakness in FlexLM that makes it relatively easy to by-pass the protection. Kappa’s encryption and checksum tests were also by-passed to unlock the software. However, Kappa anticipated such an attack when it implemented its protection scheme and has built-in some tricky code. This means that although the pirated versions produce correct results for the sample runs used in Kappa’s training material, they will give incorrect answers on real situations.

The company further warns users of pirated software of embedded code that allows illegal use to be tracked, even years after the event. The latest releases of Ecrin and Emeraude will also complain if a file from an older pirated license is opened and the program will halt. Kappa invites users of illegal versions of the software to ‘fess up’ in view of a settlement. As the company points out, it is going to do whatever it takes to protect its €5 million annual investment in its code.

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