Ubisoft's controversial 'always on' PC DRM hacked

Ubisoft's digital rights management technology for PC games, which requires that a user is always connected to the Internet, has been compromised.

Ubisoft

Ubisoft's always-on digital rights management solution, dubbed the "Online Services Network," has apparently been circumvented by hackers. News of its arrival on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks began circulating in places like social-news site Reddit Wednesday morning.

The DRM, which now ships with every new PC game made by Ubisoft, requires that gamers have a constant connection to the Internet in order to play their games. The security feature caused a large backlash by users for its inclusion in Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed 2 title, which was released last month.

The hack itself removes the DRM entirely and is being claimed by a consortium known as Skid Row. It requires users to download and install a modified version of the game's executable file to their computers. These modified game files, alongside a crack that can be applied to a retail version of the game, were uploaded to various file-sharing sites late Tuesday evening.

Attached to the "readme" file that comes with the hacked content (which can be found here), Skid Row alerted other hackers that the group's methods were safeguarded against reverse-engineering in order to fend off competing hacking groups and Ubisoft itself.

Skid Row also left a note for Ubisoft directly, telling the company to spend less time on its DRM and more on the actual game play:

"Thank you Ubisoft, this was quiete [sic] a challenge for us, but nothing stops the leading force from doing what we do. Next time focus on the game and not on the DRM. It was probably horrible for all legit users. We just make their lifes [sic] easier."

Prior to Skid Row's release, there has been a hack that emulated the back and forth of Ubisoft's DRM servers to the game. However, it did not work for all users or localizations of the game. In the readme file, Skid Row claimed its new solution "cannot be compared to that."

 

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