.NET Obfuscators

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Obfuscation is the process of scrambling and encrypting software so that it cannot be easily reverse-engineered.  The goal is to stop all casual hackers and as many serious hackers as possible from trying inspect and crack the code.

As I described in my article "Obfuscation? Gesundheit!," programs written for .NET can be reverse-engineered quite easily.  Anyone with a decompiler such as the free .NET Reflector can look at .NET applications and libraries and literally see the entire original source code, including names, logic and flow.  Hackers can inspect .NET software to find and exploit its security flaws, steal unique ideas and license keys, or pirate the application.  To plug this massive security hole, .NET software should be obfuscated.

Following is a list of .NET obfuscators available today and any online reviews.  Price is for one developer license unless otherwise noted.  A plus sign indicates the price is for the standard version, and advanced versions are available.  Please comment if any obfuscators are missing, or if you would like to report any new reviews, updates, errors or broken links, as I will keep this list updated.

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Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5 Released

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Microsoft has released Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework v3.5. These upgrades enable .NET software developers to rapidly create more secure, manageable, and reliable applications and take advantage of new features found in Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007.

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Microsoft to Share .NET Framework Code

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Microsoft has announced that it will release the source code for the .NET Framework with .NET version 3.5 later this year. Microsoft will release the code under its Reference License. This is essentially “read-only mode,” meaning that you can view the source code for reference and debugging, but you cannot modify or distribute the code. This is Microsoft’s most restrictive shared-code license and should not be confused with “open source” code such as Linux and the projects on SourceForge.Net. Read the rest of this entry »

C# String Tips

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The .NET string class is quite comprehensive, yet some common string functions are missing or not entirely obvious. This article provides quick tips on using .NET strings.

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Determine the .NET Versions on which an Application is Compiled and Running

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The version of .NET against which you compile an application or assembly may not be the same version of .NET on which the application is currently running. A .NET application should always be able to run on the same or newer version of .NET against which it was compiled.

This is because .NET is backward compatible. This means that an application compiled on .NET v1.1 should run OK on .NET v2.0 and v3.0. But an application compiled on .NET v2.0 will not run on .NET v1.1.

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Determine Installed .NET Versions from a Web Page

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You can use the following JavaScript code in a web page to determine which versions of .NET are installed on a client PC:

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Hide Form from Alt+Tab

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When you show a .NET Form, by default the form will appear in the Windows Start bar and in the list of open windows shown when the user presses Alt+Tab.

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.NET Assembly FAQ – Part 4 – Global Assembly Cache

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This multi-part article answers common questions about assemblies, the basic building blocks of .NET applications. This Part 4 covers shared assemblies and the Global Assembly Cache.

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.NET Assembly FAQ – Part 3 – Strong Names and Signing

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This multi-part article answers common questions about assemblies, the basic building blocks of .NET applications. This Part 3 discusses assembly security using strong names, signing and public-private key pairs.

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.NET Assembly FAQ – Part 2 – Attributes

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This multi-part article answers common questions about assemblies, the basic building blocks of .NET applications. This Part 2 discusses assembly attributes.

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