Detecting software theft via whole program path birthmarks

Ginger Myles, Christian S Collberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A software birthmark is a unique characteristic of a program that can be used as a software theft detection technique. In this paper we present and empirically evaluate a novel birthmarking technique - Whole Program Path Birthmarking -which uniquely identifies a program based on a complete control flow trace of its execution. To evaluate the strength of the proposed technique we examine two important properties: credibility and tolerance against program transformations such as optimization and obfuscation. Our evaluation demonstrates that, for the detection of theft of an entire program, Whole Program Path birthmarks are more resilient to attack than previously proposed techniques. In addition, we illustrate several instances where a birthmark can be used to identify program theft even when an embedded watermark was destroyed by program transformation. software piracy, copyright protection, software birthmark.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-415
Number of pages12
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume3225
StatePublished - 2004

Fingerprint

Computer crime
Theft
Flow control
Software
Path
Program Transformation
Obfuscation
Evaluate
Credibility
Watermark
Flow Control
Tolerance
Trace
Attack
Entire
Optimization
Evaluation
Demonstrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Theoretical Computer Science

Cite this

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AB - A software birthmark is a unique characteristic of a program that can be used as a software theft detection technique. In this paper we present and empirically evaluate a novel birthmarking technique - Whole Program Path Birthmarking -which uniquely identifies a program based on a complete control flow trace of its execution. To evaluate the strength of the proposed technique we examine two important properties: credibility and tolerance against program transformations such as optimization and obfuscation. Our evaluation demonstrates that, for the detection of theft of an entire program, Whole Program Path birthmarks are more resilient to attack than previously proposed techniques. In addition, we illustrate several instances where a birthmark can be used to identify program theft even when an embedded watermark was destroyed by program transformation. software piracy, copyright protection, software birthmark.

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