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One of the offenses an individual or company can commit is to decompile vendor
object code. This is usually done to figure out how the application works by obtaining
the original source code, which is confidential, and perhaps to reverse-engineer it in the
hope of understanding the intricate details of its functionality. Another purpose of reverse-engineering products is to detect security flaws within the code that can later be
exploited. This is how some buffer overflow vulnerabilities are discovered.
Many times, an individual decompiles the object code into source code and either
finds security holes and can take advantage of them or alters the source code to produce
some type of functionality that the original vendor did not intend. In one example, an
individual decompiled a program that protects and displays e-books and publications.
The vendor did not want anyone to be able to copy the e-publications its product displayed and thus inserted an encoder within the object code of its product that enforced
this limitation. The individual decompiled the object code and figured out how to create a decoder that would overcome this restriction and enable users to make copies of
the e-publications, which infringed upon those authors’ and publishers’ copyrights.
The individual was arrested and prosecuted under the new Digital Millennium
Copyright Act (DMCA), which makes it illegal to create products that circumvent copyright protection mechanisms. As of this writing, this new act and how it will be enforced have caused many debates and much controversy because of its possible negative
effects on free speech and legitimate research.
Interestingly enough, many computer-oriented individuals protested this person’s
arrest, and the company prosecuting (Adobe) quickly decided to drop all charges. Privacy
Privacy is becoming more threatened as the world relies more and more on technology.
There are several approaches to addressing privacy, including the generic approach and
regulation by industry. The generic approach is horizontal enactment. It af...
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This note was uploaded on 06/01/2013 for the course NET 125 taught by Professor Hurst during the Fall '12 term at Wake Tech.
- Fall '12