Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science


The unauthorized copying of software is often referred to as software piracy. Soft- ware piracy causes billions of dollars of annual losses for companies and governments worldwide. In this project, we analyze a method for detecting software piracy. A meta- morphic generator is used to create morphed copies of a base piece of software. A hidden Markov Model is trained on the opcode sequences extracted from these mor- phed copies. The trained model is then used to score suspect software to determine its similarity to the base software. A high score indicates that the suspect software may be a modified version of the base software and, therefore, further investigation is warranted. In contrast, a low score indicates that the suspect software differs sig- nificantly from the base software. We show that our approach is robust, in the sense that the base software must be extensively modified before it is not detected.