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Flight Sim Labs and their DRM Methods

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Update 19 Feb 2017 @ 23:05z:

FSLabs has issued a new statement. Full details here.

Original article

Overnight, a few users had reported to Flight Sim Labs that their anti-virus was picking up a possible malware file with the name of “test.exe”. This file has since been confirmed to be a program that is able to look up Google Chrome usernames and passwords saved to the users computer.

This alarming file was then addressed by FSLabs boss, Lefteris. In this forum post, he shed some light onto what the file is, why its there and how it works. Due to the importance of this story, I’ll copy and paste his quote down below.

1) First of all – there are no tools used to reveal any sensitive information of any customer who has legitimately purchased our products. We all realize that you put a lot of trust in our products and this would be contrary to what we believe.

2) There is a specific method used against specific serial numbers that have been identified as pirate copies and have been making the rounds on ThePirateBay, RuTracker and other such malicious sites.

3) If such a specific serial number is used by a pirate (a person who has illegally obtained our software) and the installer verifies this against the pirate serial numbers stored in our server database, it takes specific measures to alert us. “Test.exe” is part of the DRM and is only targeted against specific pirate copies of copyrighted software obtained illegally. That program is only extracted temporarily and is never under any circumstances used in legitimate copies of the product. The only reason why this file would be detected after the installation completes is only if it was used with a pirate serial number (not blacklisted numbers).

He then goes onto say that this method has been successful in catching those who have stolen their content and is being used in ongoing legal battles.

Later the same evening, Lefteris added another statement, telling customers that they would never do anything to violate trust of simmers. He then commited to this by uploading a new version of the installer without the “test.exe” file in it.

Here’s that statement:

I want to reiterate and reaffirm that we as a company and as flight simmers would never do anything to knowingly violate the trust that you have placed in us by not only buying our products but supporting them and FlightSimLabs.

While the majority of our customers understand that the fight against piracy is a difficult and ongoing battle that sometimes requires drastic measures, we realize that a few of you were uncomfortable with this particular method which might be considered to be a bit heavy handed on our part.  It is for this reason we have uploaded an updated installer that does not include the DRM check file in question.

I want to thank you all for voicing your concerns in a considerate manner on our forums and elsewhere.  We do listen to our customers because without you, there would be no FlightSimLabs.

This is obviously a very sensitive subject for everyone involved. We will be reaching out to people to find out anything further.

We do ask that you respect the comments section below. Any concerns or questions, I recommend you head to the FSLabs forums and raise it there so that the team can address you directly.

 

 
Tags : DRMFSlabs
Calum Martin

The author Calum Martin

I have been an avid fan of Flight Sim since the release of ‘2000 and have developed my love for aviation ever since. I have the knowledge and experience to really deliver an excellent aviation community. Although no real life flying experience, I have a good understanding and always learning more and more.