RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in Mass Effect 3

March 8, 2012 -

This morning Reclaim Your Game tweeted that EA and BioWare continue to use the SecuROM DRM scheme for its games. The latest to use it is Mass Effect 3, but it appears to be integrated tightly into EA's Origin client. EA has insisted in the past that it is not using SecuROM in its software releases on PC. When RYG uncovered it in Dragon Age II, EA told Ars Technica at the time that "Dragon Age II does not use SecuROM DRM." The company has not publicly commented on RYG's latest findings.

Reclaim Your Game CEO Lisa Pham explained to us this morning in an email how they uncovered the DRM scheme in the PC version of Mass Effect 3 and in the Origin client. 

She said that she, along with her husband, uncovered the fact that SecuROM has been integrated into EA's Origin software. They came to this conclusion by tracing every file and registry key that is installed and executing when running Mass Effect 3. She says that EA may have managed to "clean" any evidence that SecuROM is within Origin once it performs a "release date check." Very few DRM schemes use this method. One file that wasn't hidden, "dsspacker_launcher.exe," links back through to "Sony DADC through its file details/properties."

While Pham knows that people might want to argue the semantics of their findings, her company is focused on "the process, methodology, planning and execution behind how games and DRMs are made for consumers/gamers." At the end of it RYG comes to the conclusion that any game released through Origin will "use a release date checker will be integrated with SecuROM as it was originally designed by EA." Pham notes that two previous releases through Origin - Kingdoms of Amalur and Battlefield 3 - will show similar patterns to what they found in Mass Effect 3.

EA has not disclosed to its 9 million Origin users that it has integrated SecuROM into the client.

You can learn more about RYG's methodology here. Game developers and publishers that want alternative solutions to intrusive DRM should check out RYG's web site.


Comments

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

Being a software developer myself, this explanation of uncovering the DRM is shakey at best. Without actually walking the machine code, what "Files" and "Registry" keys it's making are moot.

It could also very well be that they use a method of securing predownloaded content before release date that relies on footprints and encryptions. Once the release date is met the game is available. I hardly call that DRM.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

Does EA just hate making money or something?

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

Once again, what is it that when a legitimately good game comes out, people have to nitpick and find fault with it within an inch of its life?  Why can't we just accept that this is a very well-done game that delivers a good experience and leave it at that?  I saw the same thing happen with Skyrim too, but not to this extent.

I know, I get it.  "EA is the Devil and Bioware sold their soul," is essentially where all these fears and accusations stem from.  But again, stuff like this I find is generally unfounded.  So Origin has DRM.  Big deal.  So does Steam.  But no one picks on them (at least not anymore).  In both cases, the platform IS the DRM.  I'm sure they needed something to base it off of, even if it was SecuROM.

Seriously, can we just bask in the knowledge and celebrate that this game is out, it's good, and is a fitting capper to this trilogy for several weeks BEFORE we pick it apart?  Is it that much to ask?  Sheesh!

Times like this I'm embarrassed to be a gamer...let alone a nerd.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

People point out this garbage and harp on it because, like it or not, it's bundled in with the game and you can't get rid of it. I don't care if the game is so good it'll make rainbows shoot out of my hard drive, if installing it means EA can spy on me, disable my ability to play, or infect me with malware? Fuck that, I just won't play it.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

You can actually get rid of SecuROM on various EA titles... you just have to be a pirate

-Yar har fiddledidee~

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Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

And that has been the biggest issue, they're making piracy the better option.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

Well, usually its been my experience that the people who object the strongest to this kind of thing are the ones with something to hide.  So to those who are raising hell about this, then they're probably a pirate.  So I'll say congratulations to them: They're part of the problem.  They're certainly not helping matters.

I myself don't condone piracy.  I'll admit where there were a couple times where I did pirate something, however: I downloaded a copy of Battlezone from Pirate Bay when I had lost my original, and I streamed Human Centipede.  But in the former case I had no other way to obtain a new copy legitimately, and in the latter I didn't intend to give the makers of the movie a dime which they would have used to fund more movies like it (which they did anyway).  Still, those are the only two exceptions I can think of, and by and large I prefer to purchase my entertainment legally.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

Well, usually its been my experience that the people who object the strongest to this kind of thing are the ones with something to hide. 

​I really hope you don't believe this. This is one of the biggest lies told by those that would render the Constitution and people's privacy null and void. Just because I don't want want a third party rummaging through my private property and information, does not mean I am a criminal or someone bad. It just means I want my private life to remain that, Private. 

So to those who are raising hell about this, then they're probably a pirate.

​No. It means people don't like to have software installed on their computers that can potentially damage or limit the functionality of said computer. It means people don't like software installed on their computer that operates on its own to scan and send data back to to a third party without the person's knowledge.

So I'll say congratulations to them: They're part of the problem.  They're certainly not helping matters.

No. The problem are the execs at these various game companies that think that DRM does anything to stop piracy. The problem are the execs at these game companies who think it is ok to treat their customers like criminals because it might stop that person from pirating the game they legally bought?

​The other part of the problem are the people that willingly submit themselves to authority thinking that they are getting some benefit to the loss of privacy and Constitutional and human rights.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

​I really hope you don't believe this. This is one of the biggest lies told by those that would render the Constitution and people's privacy null and void. Just because I don't want want a third party rummaging through my private property and information, does not mean I am a criminal or someone bad. It just means I want my private life to remain that, Private.

Just because I think some people lie, Zach, and that to cover up their lying they deny they've ever done it, and instead try to deflect their responsibility by trying to blame the system (and by extension justify their actions) is a long way from saying I'm favoring some sort of authoritarian regime. 

No, I think when people fling accusations like this at companies like EA, it's like Queen Gertrude in Hamlet when she says, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

It's human nature for people to lie sometimes.  Especially when they're feeling guilty about it.  On the other side of the coin, people would rather not pirate if they had better or more affordable channels open to them.  Bob Chipman did a great piece in his GameOverthinker segment that pretty much hit the nail on the head with this.

No. The problem are the execs at these various game companies that think that DRM does anything to stop piracy. The problem are the execs at these game companies who think it is ok to treat their customers like criminals because it might stop that person from pirating the game they legally bought?

All we really have here is one agency...who clearly has an agenda...claiming this to be the case.  There's no hard evidence.  Just hearsay.  Like they say, consider the source.  And considering it's led by the same woman who did nothing but rant at Andrew, I'd say they have an agenda and their claim is highly suspect.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

People have a right to be concerned about what is installed on their computer. No one I know likes to have malware installed on their computer and many of those people consider DRM to be little more than malware. 

Whether Reclaim Your Game is lying about the inclusion of Securom or not has little to do with my point. I am well aware of Lisa Pham and actually disagree with her on a number of points. However, I still think that concern over DRM is valid. If it is found that she overreacted or was misinformed or lied, so be it. That should not mean we should not be vigilant in protecting our private property.

I have chosen to protect my private property by not installing anything with DRM on my personal computer. Why have I done so? Because, I have made the decision to never support any company that treats me like a criminal. I absolutely do not trust Ubisoft with my computer and refuse to buy any game whether PC or console based until they change their DRM practices. EA and Activision are on my watch list, but I don't generally buy any of their PC games.

None of these decisions are because I have anything to hide from these companies. I just choose to keep my pricacy.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

Whether Reclaim Your Game is lying about the inclusion of Securom or not has little to do with my point. I am well aware of Lisa Pham and actually disagree with her on a number of points. However, I still think that concern over DRM is valid. If it is found that she overreacted or was misinformed or lied, so be it. That should not mean we should not be vigilant in protecting our private property.

But it has everything to do with MY point: that being that this is yet another case of someone who has nothing more than a grudge against EA just wanting to take down a legitimately good game just because they're the ones who published it through lies, gossip and innuendo.  Whether or not there's DRM on it for ME is beside the point.  Personally I don't think EA is anywhere near as bad as Ubisoft.  Now there's a company with some truly intrusive DRM policies.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

Whether or not that's true, it doesn't change the facts about DRM.  I don't pirate games, I just don't buy badly DRM'ed games.  At all.  Should my opinion be ignored just because some of the people who share that opinion happen to be pirates?

 

Mind you, I do buy a lot of used games, so according to some people I might as well be a pirate...

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

Oh I do too. I've pirated maybe one or two games I can't acquire legally anymore, well, maybe more than that since there are a ton that won't see a new release for one reason or another *eyes Earthbound*

In any case, DRM is just making the problem worse, not better, by introducing more problems, such as cutting off your gameplay due to a dropped internet connection, to no connection at all, which has happened in my area more than I care to admit.

The CD key worked perfectly and should not have been messed with.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

Steam doesn't spy on you, install itself behind your back, or fuck up your computer

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

I've never had any of those problems with Origin.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

I think he is referring to SecuROM

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

yes I was, and wasn't SecuROM the company that publicly posted torrents of games from companies who would no longer do business with them?

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

No, that was the Russian mob front (or so I prefer to believe) Starforce.

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

"Reclaim Your Game CEO Lisa Pham..."

Lisa Pham?  Wait, that Lisa Pham?

Well, I'll be...

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: RYG: SecuROM DRM Integrated into Origin, Traces Found in ...

Oh boy, this can NOT end well.  Ironically enough, my last blog post was about more reasons why DRM isn't working.

 
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