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Easy Way To Find Nulled vBulletins

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  • Easy Way To Find Nulled vBulletins

    I presently run a free hosting site and there's somewhat of a problem with nulled vBulletin signups, as I know you're quite aware of. Obviously, you want to blame the fact it's free, because the general consensus of today seems to be that free must be subpar to paid (though you'd only really need to try our services to form your own opinion).

    I do not believe the right solution is an all-out ban on vBulletin, and I know for a fact some of our clients do have legitimate licenses. Some other hosts ask for a verification of license numbers, or similar, however all the client has to do is falsify this information. We could check with you guys individually for each website with vBulletin, however that seems to me a huge waste of both time and energy on both ends.

    But I do absolutely want to put a stop to this because I think vBulletin is a great service, and I'd really love to be the free hosting provider of choice for anyone with a valid vBulletin license. So my question, or suggestions if it doesn't exist:

    Is there any easy way to check if a vBulletin is nulled or not? I assume each vBulletin contains a license somewhere, and that license corresponds to a particular domain or IP address, so I'd really like to be able to check quickly and verify that a license corresponds to the right domain or IP address. I know you guys have a system to do this.

    If I can know what to do, and this process can be effectively automated, I can maintain full knowledge of who is pirating your software, and put a stop to it.

    I also need to ask, if one of your customers moves their website, what happens to the license? Does it also need to be updated?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Azoundria View Post
    if one of your customers moves their website, what happens to the license? Does it also need to be updated?
    Yes,it has to be updated.


    vB5 is unequivocally the best forum software, but not yet...

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by beishe8 View Post
      Yes,it has to be updated.
      No it dosen't. If the URL stays the same, there is nothing to update at the vB end.

      Comment


      • #4
        There is no method, and even if there was, if it was published then the nullers would simply find a way to bypass it.

        As a host I dont think you need to worry, if a site is using an illegal copy and IB become aware then if any action is needed by yourself, IB will contact you (possibly asking for the site to be taken down).
        Note: I work for Internet Brands, however, my posts are my own personal views, unless specified otherwise.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Azoundria View Post
          I presently run a free hosting site and there's somewhat of a problem with nulled vBulletin signups, as I know you're quite aware of. Obviously, you want to blame the fact it's free, because the general consensus of today seems to be that free must be subpar to paid (though you'd only really need to try our services to form your own opinion).

          I do not believe the right solution is an all-out ban on vBulletin, and I know for a fact some of our clients do have legitimate licenses. Some other hosts ask for a verification of license numbers, or similar, however all the client has to do is falsify this information. We could check with you guys individually for each website with vBulletin, however that seems to me a huge waste of both time and energy on both ends.

          But I do absolutely want to put a stop to this because I think vBulletin is a great service, and I'd really love to be the free hosting provider of choice for anyone with a valid vBulletin license. So my question, or suggestions if it doesn't exist:

          Is there any easy way to check if a vBulletin is nulled or not? I assume each vBulletin contains a license somewhere, and that license corresponds to a particular domain or IP address, so I'd really like to be able to check quickly and verify that a license corresponds to the right domain or IP address. I know you guys have a system to do this.

          If I can know what to do, and this process can be effectively automated, I can maintain full knowledge of who is pirating your software, and put a stop to it.

          I also need to ask, if one of your customers moves their website, what happens to the license? Does it also need to be updated?
          get yourself a nulled copy, get a fresh copy.
          use WinMerge

          you'll find some core files edited which are not templates/css/styles. that is one way to find out.

          Comment


          • #6
            So what I'm being told is that, in essence, the licensing procedure is not 100% solid. I'm also being given an inconsistent message. There's a certain grievance against vBulletin piracy as expressed quite clearly by you guys. A lot of work went into developing the vBulletin software, and it must be good if so many people want to pirate it. Yet, whenever I go to fix this problem, there are roadblocks every way I turn.

            For sure, people can fake a license and will do whatever they can to try to get around any system, however, it's not difficult to make a working, unfakable system.

            Here's how you do it:

            STEP 1: Give every customer a unique license identifier.

            STEP 2: Make this unique license identifier available where anyone can see, if they visit, for example, http://domain.com/license.txt.

            STEP 3: Allow the customer to specify exactly what domain name(s) currently have access to use the license. Build a tool so they can freely modify this information if they move their website to a new location.

            STEP 4: Create a database where anyone can quickly look up the details via your website, by entering the license identifier. The displayed page would contain the website URL for which the license is registered. If it matches, you can be 100% positive the license is valid, since nobody can fake their website address. If it doesn't, then you know something is wrong.

            STEP 5: Modify the code so the text information is placed with vBulletin by default, on every new installation. One year is plenty of time to expect those who don't upgrade to add a small text file to their websites.

            Now, next year at this time, nobody can have an undetectable nulled vBulletin.

            Yes, people can steal license identifiers, however it wont do them any good at all unless their website is located at the right domain name. And yes, nulled scripts could just avoid displaying any license details at all, in which case it becomes pretty clear who they are.

            One issue might be with subdomains, where a license is registered to a domain name, and used by a bunch of forums all located at different subdomains. In this case, it's just like it is now. As soon as the service gets big enough that someone catches on, action can be taken.

            My sincere apologies to all the people who would lose their jobs as enforcers, and all the people who can no longer pirate vBulletin if my idea is implemented.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Paul M View Post
              There is no method, and even if there was, if it was published then the nullers would simply find a way to bypass it.
              That's not true. IB could simply make public the list of all domains registered to run vB legally. No way for anyone to get around that. Or, if privacy is an issue, they could make it available upon request to hosts if they sign NDAs or whatever.
              Originally posted by Azoundria View Post
              Here's how you do it:

              STEP 1: Give every customer a unique license identifier.

              STEP 2: Make this unique license identifier available where anyone can see, if they visit, for example, http://domain.com/license.txt.

              STEP 3: Allow the customer to specify exactly what domain name(s) currently have access to use the license. Build a tool so they can freely modify this information if they move their website to a new location.

              STEP 4: Create a database where anyone can quickly look up the details via your website, by entering the license identifier. The displayed page would contain the website URL for which the license is registered. If it matches, you can be 100% positive the license is valid, since nobody can fake their website address. If it doesn't, then you know something is wrong.

              STEP 5: Modify the code so the text information is placed with vBulletin by default, on every new installation. One year is plenty of time to expect those who don't upgrade to add a small text file to their websites.
              This is already done, except the list isn't public. You have to give the exact URL where each license's forum will be located. I assume IB doesn't want to give out the list for privacy reasons or something, I don't know.
              System Administrator, Total War Center

              Developer, MediaWiki

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Azoundria View Post
                Is there any easy way to check if a vBulletin is nulled or not?
                nope
                http://brandonsheley.org/services - Webmaster Services

                Comment


                • #9
                  Okay, so if I visit a website with vBulletin, I can get their license information?

                  I'm not asking them to make the list public. I'm asking to be able to look up a license number and return the website(s), for that particular license only. Presumably there would be some sort of protection against a brute force attack to get them all, though there should be a way for hosting providers to automatically scan all the license numbers of their accounts.

                  To make it more effective against a brute force attack, one might consider new license keys. For example, with upper case, lower case, and digits of length 20, there are:

                  188,919,613,181,312,032,574,569,023,867,244,773,376

                  Different possibilities. Even if everyone on the planet got a vBulletin license, and the global population expands to 10 billion people, the probability of correctly guessing a license number is so infinitesimally small my calculator just returns 0. If a sophisticated operation were to be set up that hijacked all the computers of the world, an estimated 5 billion computers, and each did 1 million queries, the chances of uncovering just one website would still be 1 in 3,778,392,264.

                  So really, privacy loss from such a database is not likely to be an issue.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    it's not going to happen
                    it's been brought up numerous times
                    sorry to spoil all your math
                    http://brandonsheley.org/services - Webmaster Services

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think, if anything, to remain properly private and such, there might be of use for a webservice where you pass the license number and installation url to vbulletin, and they return simply true or false.

                      That way a host can check someone's files for if they belong at the url they are sitting at on their server, it is only usable by someone who can see the license numbers in the file source, it wont return actual URLs if you happen to find/guess license numbers, and it answers concisely the exact question you as the host were trying to determine in the first place: is this license legitimate?

                      *of course, you would have to have a potential hostee change their license to the intended URL prior to verification, and this whole thing is still not entirely impossible to circumvent - but at least its maintains privacy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        ok, keep wasting your time then
                        http://brandonsheley.org/services - Webmaster Services

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Why would anybody take on the task of trolling the internet looking for nulled copies of vB? They have their own anti-piracy department to deal with that. It's not anybody's business what (valid) license number I own. It's not my host's business to even worry about what I'm running as long as it doesn't impact their operations.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As for your argument that what our clients do doesn't affect us:
                            http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/showt...-of-free-hosts

                            As for your argument it isn't our business, I happen to feel exactly the opposite. In order to effectively meet the needs of a market, one has to understand those needs. Our service is not aimed to be a box that fits everyone. It's custom-built to serve the individual needs of every client.

                            And no, I don't expect a person to randomly go around to all the nulled vBulletins and find them. Let's just say, if you're going to run a nulled vBulletin you'd better be extra nice to your visitors, because it only takes one report to get it blocked.

                            As for the benefits to a hosting service in preventing this abuse, close to 99% of hosting services today don't own their own datacenter. They rent/lease a server, or they have a reseller on a server someone else has rented/leased. If anyone in a level above gets too many complaints, they may, very unprofessionally but still legally, terminate the server in entirety. This is absolutely one of the worst things that can ever happen to a hosting provider.

                            It also looks like you're defending the nullification of software. So, you think software should be available for free? In that case, just use PHPBB or SMF. They're free, and aren't they just as good? If they're not, that would tend to say that the ability to license software has contributed to the creation of a better product, would it not? And if they are just as good, why bother with nullification at all?

                            In any case, even if nothing is done, I still have a documented record that we have done everything we can to work on this issue, and the ball is now in your court. I just need a confirmation from a vBulletin staff, and then I can instruct our abuse department not to worry about this issue, as vBulletin's various agencies will take care of it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Azoundria View Post
                              I just need a confirmation from a vBulletin staff, and then I can instruct our abuse department not to worry about this issue, as vBulletin's various agencies will take care of it.
                              They do.


                              vB5 is unequivocally the best forum software, but not yet...

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