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[ISN] Code Thieves Strike Again
From: InfoSec News (isnc4i.org)
Date: Fri Oct 24 2003 - 02:34:51 CDT
By Sebastian Rupley
October 23, 2003
Theft of source code is back in the spotlight. Alibre, a software
company based in Richardson, Texas, alleged this week that a former
employee - after being terminated—has begun illegally distributing a
product called "RaceCAD," which Alibre says is actually its product,
Alibre Design. Alibre's claim comes on the heels of the theft of
source code for the video game Half Life.
"The program is being distributed on a Russian Web site," says J. Paul
Grayson, CEO of Alibre. The alleged thief of Alibre's source code has
moved to Russia, following his termination, according to Grayson. "We
have had direct contact with the individual involved, who has admitted
to stealing the product," he says. "Amazingly, he offered to 'settle'
with us and discontinue the English version if we gave him the Russian
version. Clearly, the only thing he is going to get is a stiff penalty
and likely jail time. Our message to those who have unknowingly used
RaceCAD is that they must remove it from their systems immediately.
We're offering a general amnesty to those in Russia who unwittingly
downloaded the illegal product and will allow them to use a legal
version of Alibre Design for a period of time." Alibre is not
releasing the name of the alleged code thief.
According to Grayson, the alleged thief made "some minor
modifications" to the product before distributing it. Grayson also
says that currently the software is being distributed for free, but
that messages from the individual in question have suggested that
RaceCAD may soon go on sale for $200. "We are in contact with the
local police and with the FBI," Grayson says. "But to tell you the
truth, it's very hard to take any action in cases like this. Above
all, we would like people not to go get the product." Alibre has
contacted the ISP hosting the Russian Web site distributing the
software. Alibre has also posted Google advertisements in both English
and Russian to warn those who use the search term RaceCAD, that the
software is being illegally distributed.
Alibre also claims that part of the illegal distribution is source
code from partners Spatial Corporation, a US company that is a
division of Dassault Systemes SA, which is based in France; UK firm
D-Cubed Ltd.; and the OpenDWG Alliance, based in the US.
Dassault Systemes makes a modeling kernel called ACIS. "RaceCAD is not
an ACIS licensee, yet their application is based on the ACIS modeling
kernel," said Michael Payne, CEO of Spatial. "Clearly RaceCAD's use of
ACIS is illegal, not to mention the blatant theft of Alibre Design,
and [those responsible for the theft] can be sure we will be working
with Alibre to pursue them to the full extent of the law."
Alibre's Grayson also says that the alleged code thief was sloppy
about modifying the original programming and left key signatures of
Alibre Design in the code, which at least one analyst agrees with. "It
appears the 'developers' were in such a hurry to complete their
piracy, [that] even though RaceCAD was purported to be originally
developed in Russian, a few English words are still scattered
about - the same ones used in Alibre Design," says Joe Greco, a CAD
industry expert and author. "It's obvious with even a cursory review
that RaceCAD is essentially an unauthorized version of Alibre Design,
down to every menu command, icon, and dialog box."
"A quick visual inspection of the user interface shows that every
element in RaceCAD is identical to that in Alibre Design, down to a
pixel-for-pixel match for every icon," says a release from Alibre.
The problem Alibre faces is not the only one of its kind to crop up
recently. The source code for the video game Half Life was recently
stolen by hackers and distributed on the Internet.
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