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Article seems badly written[edit]

A lot of difficult and vague statements suggest some of this article has been written by someone with little knowledge of the topic ("Most of the anti-virus will detects it as a trojan"). How about some information about the legitimate uses of in house KeyGens used by (and created by) software companies for generating keys for there own software, security measures about keeping them safe ect? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:03, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Making a Keygen[edit]

How to make a keygen? And what software to make a keygen?

You need to be a computer programmer. You need to know some computer programming language, such as the C programming language.
How exactly is the algorithm figured out?
Disassembly. - Ðra

I added some information about typical key generation algorithms and how they are reverse-engineered. Shadow1

What about keygen music?

There is a cool website dedicated to keygen/trainer music. Music should definitely be mentioned in the article. Kurt 05:39, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that's encyclopedic. TechOutsider (talk) 00:10, 13 January 2009 (UTC)TechOutsider
I second that there should be at least a small paragraph or sentence mentioning the music, as most keygens I see have some Commodore type music playing along with it. -- (talk) 03:31, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Bump up. Most keygens are works of art in terms of their music, which is of the ChipTune genre. I propose a brief mention to the music and a link to Chiptune be made in the 'See also' section - (Tpapastylianou (talk) 20:50, 28 October 2010 (UTC))

Legality of keygens[edit]

"Although the code is not being copied and redistributed, giving away the key is the functional equivalent."

This is a rationalization, a keygen program does not contain keys. While it's reasonable that a keygen program is illegal this is not the reason. I think it's to do with "no non-infringing useds" but clarification is needed. 07:36, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Also of interest is at what point does a keygen become illegal, perhaps this could be explained in the article?
For example, is downloading the keygen illegal (no?), what about generating a key? Is it the use and intent that makes it illegal? What if I download a keygen, generate a key, and pass it along to my friend without using it myself? OpEd 03:23, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
IANAL, but as far as I know, there are only laws against the generation and distribution of keys. However, I am unaware of any law that forbids the creation of a keygen. Perhaps it would fall under the same jurisdiction as a programmer for a P2P program being guilty of aiding copyright infringement. But a lawyer (or someone very well educated in law) will want to check up on all of that. Hell, it's probably all up for interpretation. Noddegamra 07:05, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
At the very least, some algorithms may use look up tables that may be copyrighted.-- 19:17, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Decompiling or reverse engineering a program is a copyright infringment. This would be the first illegal part, assuming the user has accepted the EULA. On the otherhand, if the keygen is somehow built referencing the source install files (ie; the cracker never actually accepts the EULA), then it's possibly a different story. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:16, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Reverse engineering software (or other things) is not copyright infringment in the US, and decompiling a program is not always copyright infringement since, for example, it is considered fair use in some cases. EULA's are a different matter that involve contract law that, I think, varies because it's at the State level. Ohspite (talk) 02:00, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Origins and cultural impact[edit]

Keygens are arguably part of the Demoscene as those programming them are often found associated with the Demoscene or what is left of it. Since these days the majority of people using such "products" don't bother reading .nfo-Files containing ASCII Art or aren't really interested in watching crack intro Keygens these days are often "decorated" in a nice way. That often includes nicely done artistic background images as well as mostly oldschool Tracker music. Due to recent internet-activation-systems it is very likely that this form of art is going to die out soon.

Something should definitely be mentioned about about the art of original keygen chiptunes. -- (talk) 12:20, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

This is from a previous version of the page, I know it was removed but the current phrase is out of place, could this be reworded and elaborated on to fix the section? cyclosarin 06:05, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Second half of the article...[edit]

... is rather poorly formatted and written and seems a complete departure from the first half. Looks like someone just went off and brainspewed. 05:12, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree, especially with the section "Problems with Keygens." If I have time tomorrow I will try to fix it up. If not, then I hope someone else does. Noddegamra 07:01, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Public Encryption[edit]

Why don't companies use public key encryption to generate software keys? Even if the algorithm used to validate cd-keys is know, it is impossible to generate new cd-keys without knowledge of the private key. 21:15, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure, but I'm guessing it's probably too much effort for something that would just get circumvented. Sometimes when generating serials doesn't work, the appication is "patched" (i.e. cracked) or used through a loader, which makes a valid key unnecessary. Cctoide 16:11, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Actually they DO use public key encryption, sometimes. It's quite possible to crack public key encryption, the more encoded data the easier it is to break. And if you know the contents of the original message it's quite possible to, using the original message determine a black-box function to find the output for any function. So if you have the serial number, and you get a reg key or two... and use use the same public key for every game... Also the game has to be able to decode it's own public keys, so you can find the functions in the game designed to decode it's own public keys to find out how it makes them. There's about a thousand ways to break public key encryption on a dynamic system. It's only next to unbreakable when used with a static system (one time sheets) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:51, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Elgamal.jpg[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Elgamal.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 21:16, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Problems with KeyGen[edit]

I removed a problematic quote from IDC. IDC claimed an unjustifiably high ( >50% ) infestation of viruses in KeyGen software available online. This is grossly exaggerated. The "report" linked-to was on Microsoft's website; IDC is not widely known in the IT industry, and certainly not well know to the general public, but is essentially a "hired gun" that will produce a pseudo-researched report for anyone, on any IT theme, with any desired result if the price is right. These guys are essentially as unreliable as researchers as the "scientists" employed by the tobacco industry to prove that smoking's not harmful.

IDC's report is simply untrue. Quoting it without rebuttal would be a disservice to the readers, and lend unjustified credence to IDC's report and reputation. Sethnessatwikipedia (talk) 07:26, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Most KeyGens designed to be spyware?[edit]

I've heard that alot from my friends and other good people, but i have no reliable reference for it. Pavel T (talk) 22:38, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I've heard the same, but I have no proof either. Perhaps we could browse some technology forums to look for testimonials of such? Lluvio (talk) 19:50, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

True keygens are singularly focused. The spyware that people come across are fake, or modified, keygens that are posted online that reel in unsuspecting persons. A group that includes spyware capabilities in a keygen would have their entire reputation ruined and be shunned from the community. Rurik (talk) 20:06, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Sceners would reject releases with malware on it, and if it is indeed tainted, it could either be tampered, fake (as with those circulated through spam videos on YouTube), or the crack/keygen detected as a false positive, like for instance a patch or some video game trainer which would make use of advanced system calls similar to viruses. Blake Gripling (talk) 12:56, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Ok I think people are a bit lazy on this article, here's what I've found, , it says "Keygens are designed by hackers; criminals." Which I think any person would agree with that and a hacker capable doing that is most definatly capable to plant spyware into it. Would anyone be kind enough to put this information in a formal manner into the article, please? We're all in this community. I know there's a small amount of information on that but people might want more. Pavel T (talk) 17:07, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Pavel, that's unreliable information taken from a random person on a bulletin board. In my experience it's completely false, though if there are some credible sources to show that it may be true they can be worked in. I don't think it should be worked in. Rurik (talk) 20:38, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
The reference to keygens containing viruses is biased and uncalled for. Keygens can have viruses like any other program that has been tampered with. If this mention is made here, then similar references should be made on all other software-related entries in the wikipedia. Stating that it can have viruses, like any other software, is still biased and not justifiable because other software-related entries don't include this. Regardless, the fact that any software can be infected with viruses or tampered with is not related to this entry -at all-. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:23, 5 January 2010 (UTC)


I suggest merging key generator here. There's next to nothing in that article, and I'm not even sure how it is meant to be different. TheHYPO (talk) 21:54, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose. A keygen is a tool for generating license codes for an application; a key generator generates random keys for a cryptographic cipher. The similarity in names is purely coincidental. Zetawoof(ζ) 01:11, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Two completely different topics that just share a common name. Removing merge tag. Rurik (talk) 10:12, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

I would also like to merge Key generator and Keygen with sufficient information to disambiguate the two uses of the term. Key generator needs more useful information, and Keygen is an article in great need of work. Comments or suggestions? The terms are interchangeable, and bringing both the same page will allow people looking for the information to find it even of they don't know that the crypto term is usually spelled out and the cracking term is usually the short form. As it is now, you need to know that usage to find the info you want. --BSD Daemon (talk) 05:51, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

  • As noted above, the topics are completely unrelated; the fact that they have similar names is unfortunate, but merging the pages would be inappropriate. I've placed a hatnote on both pages to make the distinction clearer. Zetawoof(ζ) 06:11, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm happy with the hatnote, if that's more appropriate. As long as readers can find both pages from both terms, I'm happy. I'm going to look at some major re-writing of the whole page in a while. --BSD Daemon (talk) 18:11, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Just to add, since this wasn't mentioned and just in case someone comes and wants to merge again. Keygen is a shortening from key generator, but that term is almost never applied to a program used to create falsified keys. Likewise, a cryptographic key generator would not be properly called a keygen. They are in no way interchangeable terms, keygen always means one thing, and key generator always means the other. (talk) 18:27, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Merge: Product Key Combining these articles may strengthen them and bring more attention from editors who want to work on improving them (i.e. adding sources). Both articles directly address the use of product keys to access products and the benefits and problems of using tools to bypass these product key requirements. KonigProbst (talk) 17:35, 16 March 2014 (UTC)


Please someone translate this sentence of suboptimal comprehensibility: "Sometimes keygens have code incorporated into the keygen to change the written code of a program in order for the code that is given via the keygen to work, but this is not typically done for a keygen, as it requires more effort and sometimes added code for it to work." --Azarien (talk) 19:21, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

I see what they're getting at, but it's opening up a grey area. It's basically stating that some keygens will modify the application to accept the code that the keygen gives. However, this is blurring the lines between a keygen and a crack, which is a whole other type of program. I say just remove it. It was added here in 2008. Rurik (talk) 02:19, 6 April 2009 (UTC)


I've removed the bulk of the article for now, as it has been unreferenced for 3 years. Those wishing to re-add it can access the content from the article history. Please make sure that any content re-added cites a reliable source, per WP:V policy. Marasmusine (talk) 09:18, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

"Restored infosecurity; see WP:BLPSPS - this is not a personal/group blog, but from a reliable publication."
Can you provide anything to support that infosecurity is a reliable source?
Find sources: "Keygen" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference

--Hm2k (talk) 08:22, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

It's a magazine professionally produced by Elsevier, a major publishing company. Marasmusine (talk) 09:40, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
There appears to be no mention of it in the Elsevier article. You would expect some mention of it somewhere on Wikipedia at the very least if it is indeed a reliable source. --Hm2k (talk) 22:05, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
No, I would not expect it. Elsevier publish 2415 different journals. You're welcome to try and write an article for each of them but, "Being mentioned on Wikipedia" is not a requirement of WP:RS. Marasmusine (talk) 07:41, 3 September 2010 (UTC)