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Starforce Enforces Copy Protection by Instant Reboot - TechAmok

Starforce Enforces Copy Protection by Instant Reboot - [security]
05:55 AM EST - Mar,21 2006 - (3 comments)

According to Geeks.com, Futuremark has reportedly discovered a new anti-piracy system that is being used by Starforce:
This latest identified threat by Futuremark is one that relates to a driver being installed on your computer that gains RING0 access (the highest level of access to your computer). The installation requires Administrator level access to install the driver, which runs all of the time regardless of whether or not you're playing a game with Starforce DRM.

With such a high level of processor access (sharing the same levels the operating system enjoys), the Starforce driver can do anything to your computer at any time. This very ability is demonstrated, since the Starforce driver will force a reboot (not a shutdown) when it thinks it has discovered suspicious activity related to copying. The reboot occurs instantly, and any and all unsaved data could be lost.

In addition, Starforce removes the DPM readings (Data Protection Manager) which must be present on many other non-Starforce protected games, setting the stage for a chain of system events, which basically make it impossible to make even a usable backup copy of your favorite game. Starforce can also block access to some other drivers, requiring certain hardware devices to run in PIO mode (Programmed Input/Output), which results in a lot of overhead for the CPU and a slowing down of your system.
Update: A statement from Futuremark:
All the recent news and discussions claiming Futuremark would have done any kind of research into StarForce are based solely on threads and posts posted by individual users on Futuremark's public discussion boards. Futuremark as a company has not done any investigations, research or uncovered anything in regards to StarForce.

The material found on the discussion boards is published "as is", and does not represent the official views and opinions of Futuremark Corporation.

Best Regards,

Nicklas Renqvist Benchmark Development Architect

last 10 comments:

(10:01 AM EST - Mar,21 2006) - admin
Thank you!

quote:
I only own one StarForce protected game luckily enough, and that'll be my last one.


The same here. Starforce prevents piracy by making me ignore every game that has it...
(09:29 AM EST - Mar,21 2006) - devilhood
There could also be two other files present.

sfvfs02 and sfsync02, both in the system32/drivers folder and in HKLM :!:

I only own one StarForce protected game luckily enough, and that'll be my last one.
(06:14 AM EST - Mar,21 2006) - admin
Unofficial way to remove Starforce

quote:

Remove these files:
%SystemRoot%\system32\drivers\sfsync03.sys
%SystemRoot%\system32\drivers\sfhlp02.sys
%SystemRoot%\system32\drivers\sfdrv01.sys

Remove these registry keys:
HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\sfsync03
HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\sfhlp02
HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\sfdrv01


1. Device removal
quote:

- Go into the device manager and show non-plug and play devices. There will be three Starfoce items.
- Select the first one and Uninstall -> Are you sure -> YES -> Do you wish to restart -> No.
- Select the second one and Uninstall -> Are you sure -> YES -> Do you wish to restart -> No.
- Select the third (final) one and Uninstall -> Are you sure -> YES -> Do you wish to restart -> YES.
*computer restarts*


2. File removal
open the search window (F3) and look for any of the following files on ANY drive:
quote:

sfsync*.sys
sfhlp*.sys
sfdrv*.sys



3. Registry cleanup
Open the windows registry (Start -> Run -> Regedit) and look for any of the following items:
quote:

sfsync
sfhlp
sfdrv


If you aren't allowed to delete those entries, right-slick on the item, click permissions, then grant full control over the item. You can then delete ir from the registry.

Again, remove anything even related to any of these items. Be sure to search for KEYS, VALUES and DATA. You will get more hits then just the ones given by the Starforce crew. I removed all trace of them.

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