New Valeroa Anti-Piracy System Cracked In 20 Minutes
Valeroa markets itself as a consumer-friendly alternative to Denuvo, a software anti-tamper technology that promised to work with offline games, provide no frame drops when used with gaming applications and incur no unnecessary wear on HDDs or SSDs.
While the performance impact of Denuvo is a hotly debated topic, Valeroa promises to mitigate the perceived issue entirely, promising game developers to protect their games around launch while presenting no downsides to gamers. Perhaps the most noteworthy change is that Valeroa doesn’t limit the number of hardware changes PC, preventing the “Denuvo Lockout” issue that plagues benchmarkers, reviewers and other hardware testers.
Addressing other complaints usually aimed at Denuvo, Valeroa claims not to continuously write to the gamer’s hard drive while placing no limit on the number of daily installations or changes of hardware.
In common with Denuvo, however, the company behind Valeroa states that its tech is “extremely difficult to crack before and closely after the game release date.”
Curiously, it also adds that the protection “becomes a lot easier to crack after a predefined period” noting that the company has “no problem with organized pirate groups or individuals who crack Valeroa once the protection is weakened.”
This contrasts with statements made on the company’s website back in May (now deleted) that said the following:
Valeroa statement reads:
“We closely watch the ‘Warez Scene’, P2P and reverse engineering communities. We report criminal activities to legal institutions. Pirate release groups, we know who you are and you have been warned!”
On November 29, Valeroa made its debut on the game City Patrol: Police, a racing/action game that doesn’t appear to be particularly popular with early adopters. Doubling up on the disappointment, the Valeroa technology didn’t stand up as promised either.
On Saturday December 1, two days after launch, the game appeared online with its protection cracked. A user known online as ‘Steam006’ was reportedly responsible and if his report is to be believed, Valeroa didn’t put up much of a fight.
“It took about 20 minutes to make the crack,” he announced.
While this rapid defeat was greeted with amusement by the game cracking community, a number of questions about Valeroa remain.
The site itself gives no indication as to who is behind the technology and its domain WHOIS is protected, something which is not common when traditional corporate entities are involved. Its Linkedin page states the company is in the UK, providing a London postcode of EC1 and stating that Valeroa is “almost impossible to crack”.
However, an early version of the website claimed the company was situated in France, offering the address 54-56 Avenue Hoche, Paris 75008. This sounds suspicious.
While the aims of Valeroa are positive for consumers, the purpose of anti-tamper technology is to prevent hackers from creating pirated versions of the software/game, something which Valeroa has failed at with City Patrol: Police. Denuvo took years to crack for the first time, giving developers plenty of reasons to consider using the technology, and while Valeroa targets indie developers as an affordable offering, it has done little to inspire confidence in their product.
Whether its strength will improve over time remains to be seen but the people behind the technology, whoever they are, do seem to understand why gamers hate DRM and similar technologies. That is certainly novel, if nothing else.
As a small aside, please note that anti-tamper technology is not DRM, though the words have been used interchangeably by consumers in recent years. Anti-tamper technology is designed to work with DRM solutions, such as storefront-based solutions like Steam DRM, to prevent it from being removed from the game/software or bypassed. Valeroa and Denuvo are not DRM.