There is no doubt that ESET’s NOD32/Smart Security and Kaspersky Lab’s Kaspersky Anti Virus (KAV)/Kaspersky Internet Security (KIS) are some of the most popular security products currently available on the market. Due to their high popularity, these products are among the list of most pirated security products. In addition to usual workarounds and trial extensions, ‘fans’ have made utilities that crawl the web and automatically retrieve valid usernames and keys for these products. The aim of this post is to shed some light on several such utilities that are currently around (and seem to be the most popular); NodEnabler, NodLogin and Kaspersky Key Finder.
Tools for ESET NOD32 and ESET Smart Security (ESS)
Licensing mechanism of ESET’s security products, namely NOD32 and ESET Smart Security (ESS), is based purely on usernames and passwords (there is no product activation or validation required). The only major difference between trial version and commercial versions of NOD32 and ESS is that you cannot update the trial versions once the 30 day tryout period is over. There have been many hacks and cracks (including 3rd party update servers) to extend the trial period of NOD32 and ESS but ESET has made life difficult for pirates by blocking extended trials and blacklisting 3rd party servers at regular intervals. This is where NodEnabler and NodLogin come in. Instead of merely trying to extend the trial period, these software automatically download daily updated commercial licenses (usernames and passwords that is) from various web sources.
NodEnabler works with most version 3 (v3) products of ESET Smart Security and NOD32 Anti Virus. What NodEnabler does is that it acquires usernames and passwords for ESET products from the web and inserts them to the program automatically through the system registry. User interaction is not required for the most part; even when a key is expired or blacklisted, NodEnabler would search for a new one and install it automatically. It’s primary source of commercial licenses seem to be www.nod321.com, a Chinese site with daily updated NOD32 and ESS keys which has been around for some time. This means that as long as the site is up, NodEnabler will continue to work fine. If the site goes down, the program will be useless.
Latest version (as of 28/11/2008) – NodEnabler 2.81
NodLogin is another tool similar to NodEnabler; it downloads ESET Smart Security and NOD32 Anti Virus commercial keys from web sources and injects them to the product through the system registry. Unlike NodEnabler, Nodlogin can autodetect the ESET product version installed on your system. This program too has a weakness; it depends on a single, central server to download commercial keys. If this server (which happens to be run by the developer of NodLogin) goes down, so will the effectiveness of NodLogin.
Latest version (as of 28/11/2008) – NodLogin 9.7
Tools for Kaspersky Anti Virus (KAV) and Kaspersky Internet Security (KIS)
Kaspersky security products too need either a working trial (non expired) or a commercial license for definition updates to be downloaded. Products can be activated online using the activation key obtained during purchase or they can be activated using a .key file. The second method (.key file) is the one most commonly exploited by software pirates.
Kaspersky Key Finder
Kaspersky Key Finder is a utility that downloads .key files for Kaspersky Internet Security (KIS) and Kaspersky Anti Virus (KAV) from a web based database of daily updated keys. It’s able to find and download keys for Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Anti Virus v6, v7 and v8 products. Kaspersky KeyFinder shares the same weakness of NodLogin and NodEnable; it relies on a set of web based servers that contain daily updated keys. These central servers were located on Freewebs (free web hosting provider) and they have all recently been taken down by the host, citing abuse. As of 28/11/2008, the servers remain offline and Kaspersky Keyfinder returns “unable to access database” error.
Latest version (as of 28/11/2008) – Kaspersky KeyFinder 1.5.2d
Most of these tools are detected by Anti virus software as viruses and malware (HackTool, Generic Malware, etc). If you download from their original sources (sorry, download links will not be provided here), these tools do not actually contain any viruses or malware; most of the detections are false positives. Anyway, if you download from untrusted 3rd party sites, there is no guarantee of the files being clean.