Starforce — a Russian company that sells highly-invasive copy-protection to software companies and threatens lawsuits against its critics — went up about a tenth of a notch in our books when they apologized to Stardock for posting links to illegal torrents of their most recent game, in response to Stardock’s implied criticism of their software.
But we knew our middling approval wouldn’t last. Sure enough, a new iteration of Starforce DRM has been unleashed on the public. And boy, is it a doozy:
Futuremark* has uncovered a very dangerous anti-piracy system Starforce is now using. This copy protection system installs a driver that runs at the highest level of access on the system, which gives it low level access to the PCs hardware and any drivers and processes. This driver runs regardless of whether the game runs; keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity such as attempting to copy a protected disc. If something suspicious is detected, it forces the PC to make an immediate reboot, regardless of any other applications running and whether or not the user has any unsaved work.
That’s right. If Starforce even thinks it smells the fart of you trying to copy your disc, it immediately and without warning reboots your computer. The software can not be easily removed.
Gee, why would anyone be critical of Starforce? Well, according to Starforce themselves, it’s because they are members of the Russian mafia.
StarForce Technologies, for its part, often takes extreme offense to negative comments
When questioned, Zhidkov [SF
s PR manager] told us,
The issue on StarForce is obviously sponsored by our competitors or organized crime groups that run CD/DVD piracy [operations]. We are now in close coopreration with [US and Russian officials] investigating the matter and trying to find out who stands behind the boycott campaign.