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In 2011, Flexera really tightened tampering prevention in our InstallShield 2011 and InstallShield 2012 releases (shipped Feb 2011 and Aug 2011) as we had found cracked versions of InstallShield 2010 on sites in China and Russia.

Financial Impact

Based on our estimates, we suspect that around 1,000 units of the cracked InstallShield 2010 were illegally downloaded; worth around $2 million USD (license only, assuming list price).

After applying FlexNet Publisher‘s Tamper Resistance, InstallShield units shipped to China increased by 127% year over year in 2012, breaking away from the previous year’s decline in this region.


  • InstallShield is a great product. Many developers want it, not all of them want to pay for it. This is a reality that many other software producers experience when bringing their products into new markets
  • Hacks have quantifiable financial impacts.
    • Often we hear “those hackers wouldn’t necessarily buy it, and that we should think of hacked copies as a marketing lead” (to paraphrase Bill Gates) but if you enter a new market with this mindset, the market will be built expecting to get your software for free.
    • The appearance of cracked versions of our software led to a decline in sales throughout the market. Applying tamper resistance led to a growth in sales for that market.
    • Although Flexera did not see a $2M increase in revenue by adding tamper resistance, we estimate 25-50% of that coming back
  •  FlexNet Publisher’s Tamper Resistance works.

Funny Frustration Blogs from Hacking Sites

Just to give you a sense of the hacking, here are some sample posts from various hacking blogs:

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Feb 2011—after InstallShield 2011 was shipped (with some tamper resistance)

  • What’s the status on the IS 2011 crack? English please
  • IS 2011 could create new projects, but uhm… it would crash when build it…  who can help me ?????!!!
  • Please post your current crack, so I or someone else can try getting it to work
  • Cracking the crack cannot be downloaded, can you send to <email address>, thanks
  • <Hacker> I am still working on it. the new protection is very different than the old one.

June 2011

  • Really needed this, looking for a long time
  • Urgently needed
  • How can I still cannot use it? Error message is as follows, <hacker name>, may I ask how to solve?
  • Several were also hoodwinked several times, hope this is true

Oct 2011

  • <Hacker>2012 crack is said to be under development, looking forward to
  • Wait for the leader of 2012
  • 2012 have not come out, 2011 you did nothing,
  • Try this, I have try a another crack for IS12, but it is invalid

50 pages later….  Jan 2013

  • Much-needed InstallShield 2012 break, come on … …
  • Good, now do not expect the 2012 Edition can break, thanks for hard work
  • Need the good things. See if you can.
  • <Hacker> I am still working on it