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Product Keys Based on Elliptic Curve Cryptography


Teddy Rogers
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A popular method of product validation is using keys similar to VJJJBX-H2BBCC-68CF7F-2BXD4R-3XP7FB-JDVQBC. These compact keys can be derived using Public Key Cryptosystems such as Elliptic Curve Cryptography.

Other Public Key Cryptosystems are available such as RSA. However, these systems generally produce larger keys (which the user will eventually have to enter into the program to unlock functionality). Smaller producing Cryptosystems exist, but it is the author's opinion that they are highly encumbered with patents. Quartz is one such example. It is a Public Key Encryption System that produces a smaller cipher text based on Hidden Field Equations (HFEs). The Quartz website is littered with phrases such as "must license" and "pay royalties".

The reader is also encouraged to investigate Signature Schemes (with Recovery) as an alternative method to producing Product Keys. An example is PSS-R, a Message Recovery Signature Scheme based on RSA. PSS-R is not suitable for product keys due to the size of the resulting key. However, cryptosystems such as a Weil Pairing system should be of interest. Once Weil Pairing is finalized in committee, it will be added to the Crypto++ library.

Finally, the reader should also visit Product Keys Based on the Advanced Encryption Standard to familiarize themselves with basic concepts of Product Keys in the domain of Public Key Cryptography; and Product Activation Based on RSA Signatures.

This article will discuss in detail the following topics:

Elliptic Curve Cryptography Implementation in Crypto++
Using Elliptic Curves with User Defined Domain Parameters In Crypto++
Base Encoding a cipher text String in Crypto++
Working Demo which Exercises Product Keys based on ECC
Bulk Product Key Generation
Product Key Validation
Product Activation
Securely Saving Key or Activation State to the Registry
This article is based on the Visual C++ 6.0 Environment in hopes that it reaches the largest audience.

Finally, there are 16 downloads available with this article. They are presented at the end of the article.

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