Publication Date

Spring 2011

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Mark Stamp

Second Advisor

Chris Pollett

Third Advisor

Sami Khuri


Software piracy is the unauthorized copying or distribution of software. It is a growing problem that results in annual losses in the billions of dollars. Prevention is a difficult problem since digital documents are easy to copy and distribute. Watermarking is a possible defense against software piracy. A software watermark consists of information embedded in the software, which allows it to be identified. A watermark can act as a deterrent to unauthorized copying, since it can be used to provide evidence for legal action against those responsible for piracy.
In this project, we present a novel software watermarking scheme that is inspired by the success of previous research focused on detecting metamorphic viruses. We use a trained hidden Markov model (HMM) to detect a specific copy of software. We give experimental results that show our scheme is robust. That is, we can identify the original software even after it has been extensively modified, as might occur as part of an attack on the watermarking scheme.