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We identify three types of attack on the intellectual property contained in software and three corresponding technical defenses. A defense against reverse engineering is obfuscation, a process that renders software unintelligible but still functional. A defense against software piracy is watermarking, a process that makes it possible to determine the origin of software. A defense against tampering is tamper-proofing, so that unauthorized modifications to software (for example, to remove a watermark) will result in nonfunctional code. We briefly survey the available technology for each type of defense.
Date of Publication: Aug 2002