IBM PC: SecuROM / StarForce protection

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This guide will help you understand, identify and properly dump SecuROM and StarForce protected discs.

Work In Progress

Contents

Information & Features

SecuROM is a CD/DVD copy protection and digital rights management product developed by Sony DADC. SecuROM aims to resist home media duplication devices, professional duplicators, and attempts at reverse engineering software. It is most often used for commercial computer games running under the Microsoft Windows platform.

StarForce is a software copy protection mechanism developed by Protection Technology.

Physical Measurements: SecuROM and StarForce are called Physical Protections because they perform measurements, like calculating sector distances, in CDs and DVDs. Both install a rootkit upon installation of the game and can only be removed by using official uninstallers.

Twin Sectors: In SecuROM discs The 4th sector from the end is a twin sector which means it exists twice in the CD. It is usually skiped (corrected by drive) by common software and cannot be burned as it breaks the standard. CDMage will detect the twin sector, as arrorenous, if the CD is dumped correctly.

Detection

For this you need BurnOut or ProtectionID.

Alternate method: These tools don't always specify the exact version number. The version number of SecuROM can be found after AddD string in the protected executable using a HEX Editor or Viewer. It always appears at 98% of the file. For StarForce find the protect.dll file in the protected application folder (the file can have another name, but it always has the .dll extension), right-click it and select Properties. Select Version tab then. The protection version number is in the BuildSignature (or BuildInfo) section.

Dumping

The data track of physical protection discs is dumped normally with Isobuster, follow the main CD dumping guide for details. If any errors appear in the process you must abort, clean the disc and try again.

To properly save the measurements you will need to use Alcohol 52% or 120%. Dump the disc with Alcohol and select Data Position Measurement, when asked choose High precision and Low speed. The .MDS file that will be created is important for your personal backup. Unfortunately the database does not support adding those files.

For SecuROM discs you will need to double check. Open the .BIN file with CDmage and scan for errors. If no errors showed during dumping yet your image has 1 error, then it is correct.

MDS Settings:

  • CDs: Enable (1) Skip reading errors, (2) Sub-Channel Data from current disc, and (3) Data Position Management
  • DVDs: Enable (1) Data Position Management, and set it to "high" precision.
  • SPEED: 8x is generally accepted as a reasonable speed for generating MDS files.

Subs & CCDs (Optional)

Subchannels and CCD data can be extremely useful in disc replication and emulation. While redump does not presently archive this information, it is generally a good idea to capture this data for personal preservation purposes. Additional steps may be required for mixed-mode discs (i.e. discs containing CDDA). Search the forums or ask one of the MODs for help if you get stuck.

  • Use CloneCD to generate a valid CCD file. Be sure to use this custom profile.
  • Use Subdump to capture highly accurate subchannel data from the disc. Subdump is an internal development tool, and is presently only available upon request. Ask a Moderator if you have interest in using it.

Examples

Personal tools