Industry stub

Denuvo DRM Loopholes Discovered

Posted on August 11, 2016

The recently popular German-based Denuvo Anti-Tampering software has provided some safety for game developers, though we've found it cumbersome at times. Denuvo has been used for several of the biggest recent game releases, including Doom, Mirror's Edge, and Just Cause 3. A Bulgarian hacker known only as "Voksi" discovered a workaround method through Steam that allowed for a full game, such as Doom, to be spoofed as a different game's free demo, also available through Steam. Steam quickly closed the loophole, but it is unclear if the Denuvo software itself has been cracked or simply reworked through the loophole, as only one fully cracked Denuvo game was released out of the loophole. Until now, Denuvo has remained the most impenetrable DRM gaming software in recent history. While this is an incredible feat, Denuvo can also affect legitimate users in a negative way (as all DRM seems to do).

Denuvo operates through a Virtual Machine (VM) environment (VMProtect). In theory, the additional operation of this VM on top of the game can negatively affect game performance, depending on how it is programmed. Denuvo also has to "phone home" to ensure the license for the game is valid. Again, in theory, this would be fine; however, if you do not have a reliable internet connection (or want to play offline on a laptop), you may be out of luck. Denuvo further limits the amount of hardware changes that can be made in a set period, often 24 hours. This means we can only change out our hardware bench so many times, typically 5, which limits how often we can run performance benchmarks.

While this news is a big blow to Denuvo's impenetrable reputation, there has only been one Denuvo game that has been cracked, and it is not clear if the crack is related to the loophole that the hacker Voksi discovered.

GamersNexus does not condone piracy and will not link to resources related to these endeavors, but we did want to report on the findings.

- Scott Minkoff.