Developer delves into Denuvo DRM to run Hogwarts Legacy on a secondary PC

Hardcore DRM: Denuvo is an efficient anti-tamper and DRM toolkit that many studios select to guard their freshly developed video games. The controversial expertise is notoriously tough to bypass or defeat, however one lone developer determined to undertake the problem to know the way it capabilities beneath the hood.

DRM developer and reverse engineering knowledgeable Maurice Heumann determined to analyze the Denuvo DRM safety embedded in Hogwarts Legacy, the favored motion RPG based mostly on the Harry Potter saga, launched in 2023 for PC and consoles. The developer devoted 5 months of his life to reverse engineering the system within the Avalanche Software-developed sport.

Heumann’s purpose was to not “crack” Hogwarts Legacy on PC, a activity already completed by the infamous cracker Empress. Instead, he aimed to investigate Denuvo’s inside workings, prompted by his earlier analysis on an “integrity bypass” for Black Ops 3. While Empress managed to crack and seemingly take away Denuvo from Hogwarts Legacy in just some days, Heumann encountered higher challenges and achieved a less-than-perfect end result in the long run.

Heumann defined that the DRM expertise is designed to gather {hardware} and software program “options” from a consumer’s system to create a novel fingerprint and generate a “Steam Ticket.” Both the fingerprint and tickets are then despatched again to Denuvo’s server, whereas the Steam Ticket is forwarded to Steam to confirm that the consumer legitimately bought the sport by means of Valve’s digital market.

After possession is confirmed, a “Denuvo Token” is generated, which may solely operate on the PC the place the unique fingerprint was created. This Denuvo Token is the information piece that the DRM expertise makes use of to decrypt and execute the sport on the consumer’s PC. Hogwarts Legacy can not function with no Token, and Denuvo often verifies the fingerprint in opposition to the system’s {hardware} to make sure it nonetheless matches.

Heumann spent appreciable time trying to establish all of the options the sport makes use of to create the fingerprint after which attempt to patch them out. He managed to pinpoint probably the most outstanding ones with the assistance of Qiling, a robust but buggy “reverse engineering framework” designed to emulate varied forms of binary recordsdata. The developer created roughly 2,000 patches and hooks utilizing the fingerprint generated by Denuvo for his PC. Ultimately, he succeeded in launching and partially loading Hogwarts Legacy on a secondary PC (a laptop computer) utilizing a token generated for a special PC.

Heumann talked about that he might proceed looking for all of the runtime checks to utterly defeat Denuvo, however he felt content material with merely launching the sport on a non-authenticated system.

He expressed his “utmost respect” for people like Empress, who dedicate sufficient time and motivation to take away Denuvo from any sport. Additionally, the developer found that the expertise doesn’t appear to considerably impression a sport’s general efficiency, confirming what the DRM developer said in 2023.

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