'Sector structure protections'
Author:Lord Crass (guest: search)
Date: Tue, May 03rd, 2011 @ 00:33 ( . )

After looking at Infiltrator's protection, I noticed that this one is a "shrink-wrap" style protection that is used on many, many games. It counts the bytes in the data and header blocks and gets the byte before and after the sync marks. It retrieves this info from 16 sectors on a track (which differs according to the title) and builds a table that's used to decrypt the first block or two of the protected file. Frequently the protection is run through twice, sometimes on different tracks. This protection would defeat any software nibbler as it requires the track to be written in one pass.

I don't know who wrote this or what it's called, but there's usually the text "HI MIKE!" in the drive code. Referring to Mike J. Henry, perhaps? Sometimes the text is "LATER!", and once I saw "NEW TWIST" (on Fairlight). Since it's such a common protection, it should probably be given a name and referenced in the database and/or in an article. This is also the one UH1/NiVEK wrote a crack tutorial on for Robocop.

Nearly all of these titles are broken on any version of Vice newer than 1.2. The ones with the protections on the higher tracks (>=18) have a better chance of loading in newer Vice versions due to the way the sync mark is laid out.

I've attached a list of the titles that I've been able to confirm. There's probably many more. Data East, Mindscape, and Br0derbund were heavy users of it.

Attachments:
1304397037_HIMIKE.txt


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'Sector structure protections'
Author:Lord Crass (guest: search)
Date: Tue, May 03rd, 2011 @ 00:45 ( . )

When looking at titles that I suspected had this protection, I found a different protection that checks the same sector structure and is also commonly used.

Again, no idea who wrote it or what it's called. It has no identifying text it in. It's a bit simpler as well, it just reads a data and header block length along with the leading and trailing byte before the sync mark, then reads a few more sectors and checks that they match what was previously read. Mostly Mindscape used this one.

Due to its similar nature, this one also gives Vice problems.

Attachments:
1304397901_Mindscape-prot.txt


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'Sector structure protections'
Author:Lord Crass (guest: search)
Date: Wed, May 04th, 2011 @ 22:54 ( . )

Karate Champ (Data East) also uses the same protection check on track 19 that Dolphin's Rune and those others use.

As a kid, I always wondered why I couldn't copy this one...


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'Sector structure protections'
Author:Nate (guest: search)
Date: Thu, May 05th, 2011 @ 02:54 ( . )

On 05/04/2011 @ 22:54, Lord Crass wrote :
Karate Champ (Data East) also uses the same protection check on track 19 that Dolphin's Rune and those others use.
:
: As a kid, I always wondered why I couldn't copy this one...
--



Yeah, that's the reason I got back into reversing these copy protection schemes later in life. You always wondered, "just what is on those disks?"

It's great that you've got the time to analyze all these schemes. I'm a little jealous since I always planned to do that "one of these days".


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'Sector structure protections'
Author:J Achernar (registered user: 36 posts )
Date: Wed, May 04th, 2011 @ 23:34 ( . )

The original of Dolphin's Rune that I have does not appear to use any copy protection. The D64 image works fine in VICE 2.3 (with new CIAs selected) and CCS64, but not VICE 2.2.


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'Sector structure protections'
Author:Pete Rittwage (registered user: 558 posts )
Date: Tue, May 03rd, 2011 @ 09:51 ( . )

Heh, I guess we can call it "Hi Mike" protection. :)


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'Sector structure protections'
Author:hyper active (registered user: 296 posts )
Date: Tue, May 03rd, 2011 @ 19:27 ( . )

see if mikie from action city does the same thing, it's got something similar on track 17, it also won't load up on newer versions of vice.
btw: I have no trouble whatsoever remastering the protection with nibtools.


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'Sector structure protections'
Author:Lord Crass (guest: search)
Date: Tue, May 03rd, 2011 @ 20:51 ( . )

Yep, Mikie is the same protection, checks track 17 and then 16.

The text in this one is appropriate. It says: "GETTING OLD"


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'Sector structure protections'
Author:Lord Crass (guest: search)
Date: Wed, May 04th, 2011 @ 22:15 ( . )

Seems Konami was a fan of this protection as well:

Boot Camp (Konami) 20, 19
Jackal (Konami) 16
Life Force (Konami) 17
Rush'N Attack (Konami) 17, 16
Yie Ar Kung Fu (Konami) 8, 17
Yie Ar Kung Fu II (Konami) 17, 16


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'Sector structure protections'
Author:hyper active (registered user: 296 posts )
Date: Wed, May 04th, 2011 @ 23:05 ( . )

Hmmmm. Paradroid from thunder mountain uses a signature check on track 18 that will not pass in vice 2.3 or vice 2.2, but it will run under vice 2.1.
Weird.
Hoxs64 also doesn't like it.


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'Sector structure protections'
Author:Lord Crass (guest: search)
Date: Wed, May 04th, 2011 @ 23:29 ( . )

Yep, the HI MIKE protection again. Checks track 10 twice.


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'Sector structure protections'
Author:Lord Crass (guest: search)
Date: Mon, Jun 27th, 2011 @ 20:20 ( . )

Arcade Game Construction Kit contains the HIMIKE protection in addition to the (unprotected) V-Max loader. Level editor crashes if this protection doesn't pass.


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