NEST-X86 tamper-proofs Win32 object files. We analyze and modify the object file for the protection. Some competitors use the source code; others use executables; many tools are applied to byte codes. Protecting real object files is a major advantage.

Compared to protecting at the source level, operating at the binary level allows the whole complexity of the real computer to be used. The protection is not limited to what the programming language can (nicely) express. Compared to executable files, object files still have unresolved references, but exactly because they still support linking object files lead to more precise analysis. Our tool supports “pre-linking” multiple object files and can generate one single pre-linked and protected object file.

What can be protected?
Protecting object files enables use of different languages or tools. However, being able to precisely analyze the application-binaries does require the protection tool to have some knowledge of the tool chain. C is supported, C++ still has some limitations (templates). The tool will also be able to protect embedded applications.

Control of performance impact.
The protection is guided by a “script”, and by optional position markers in the source file. The script is an XML file, uses only simple elements which any programmer can put together with an XML editor or a plain text editor.
The programmer has the choice for the level of protection and which parts of the code will be protected. With this choice, the execution performance, size impact and protection strength can be controlled and the protection applied where it is most needed and most critical.

What about X64, .NET, Linux, ARM, PowerPC, Byte-codes?
We are working on these environments and will deliver the product on a priority scheme based on customer demand. Our tool is internally very modular and prepared for such ports.

NEST-X86™ is a trademark of White Hawk Software.