ANNOUNCE: SandMark - A Software Protection Research Tool

"Christian S. Collberg" <>
5 Feb 2003 23:57:45 -0500

          From comp.compilers

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ANNOUNCE: SandMark - A Software Protection Research Tool (Christian S. Collberg) (2003-02-05)
Re: ANNOUNCE: SandMark - A Software Protection Research Tool monnier+comp.compilers/news/ (Stefan Monnier) (2003-02-11)
Re: ANNOUNCE: SandMark - A Software Protection Research Tool collberg@CS.Arizona.EDU (2003-02-12)
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From: "Christian S. Collberg" <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 5 Feb 2003 23:57:45 -0500
Organization: University of Arizona CS Department, Tucson AZ
Keywords: tools, available
Posted-Date: 05 Feb 2003 23:57:44 EST

SandMark: A Tool for the Study of Software Protection Algorithms

SandMark is a tool developed at the University of Arizona for software
watermarking, tamper-proofing, and code obfuscation of Java
bytecode. The ultimate goal of the project is to implement and study
the effectiveness of all known software protection
algorithms. Currently, the tool incorporates several dynamic and
static watermarking algorithms (such as those proposed by Venkatesan,
Collberg, Stern, and others), a large collection of obfuscation
algorithms, and tools for viewing and analyzing Java bytecode.

Software watermarking algorithms can be used to embed
a customer identification number (a fingerprint) into
a Java program in order to trace software pirates. A
SandMark software watermarking algorithm consists of
two programs:
          * The embedder takes a Java jar-file
              and a string (the watermark) as input and produces
              the a new jar-file that embeds the string.
          * The recognizer takes the watermarked
              jar-file as input and produces the watermark
              string as output.
Typically, the watermark is a copyright notice or a
customer identification number.

The code obfuscation algorithms in SandMark take a
Java jar-file as input and produce an obfuscated jar-file
as output. They have many applications:
          * The obfuscations can be used to protect the intellectual
              property of Java programs (by rendering the code difficult
              to understand).
          * Obfuscations can protect fingerprinted programs from collusive
              attacks (by making differently fingerprinted program differ
              everywhere, not just in the parts where the mark is embedded).
          * Obfuscations can also be used to attack software watermarks
              (by reorganizing the code such that the mark can no longer be

An alpha release of SandMark 3.1.1 is available for download from
It currently runs under Linux using Sun JDK1.4.

SandMark is designed to be simple to use. A graphical user interface
allows novices to easily try out watermarking and obfuscation algorithms.
Algorithms can be combined, the resulting watermarked and/or obfuscated
code can be examined, and attacks can be easily launched.

SandMark has been designed using a plugin-style architecture which makes
it easy to extend with additional algorithms.

We are currently using SandMark to study which software watermarking
algorithms are vulnerable to which code optimizations and code
obfuscations. We are also interested in evaluating the effectiveness
and performance overhead of obfuscation algorithms.

The development of SandMark is supported by the NSF under grant
CCR-0073483,the AFRL under contract F33615-02-C-1146, and by the
New Economy Research Fund of New Zealand under contracts UOAX9906
and UOAX0214.

Christian Collberg
Department of Computer Science
The University of Arizona


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