Microsoft UWP, or Universal Windows Platform, is a system designed to allow apps, programs, and games to run on multiple platforms including Windows 10 and Xbox One with only minimal code changes required for both systems. For owners of multiple pieces of compatible hardware, you can buy an app or game once, and have access across any hardware that will run it. That’s great, and a really nice benefit for those in the Microsoft ecosystem, though if there’s software available somewhere, chances are good there’s someone attempting to crack it. Hackers from a group called CODEX broke the Microsoft UWP protection for Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection. While that might not be the most popular game out there, it proves that UWP can be broken under the right circumstances.
Last evening it became clear that the UWP system, previously believed to be uncrackable, had fallen to pirates. After being released on October 31, 2017, the somewhat underwhelming Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection became the first victim at the hands of popular scene group, CODEX.
“This is the first scene release of a UWP (Universal Windows Platform) game. Therefore we would like to point out that it will of course only work on Windows 10. This particular game requires Windows 10 version 1607 or newer,” the group said in its release notes.
To break through and get the game running outside of the Windows Store, CODEX worked through five layers of DRM, including MSStore, UWP, EAppX, XBLive, and Arxan. Arxan is described as an anti-tamper solution, though they may need to revisit that claim. All levels of the DRM cracked here will likely head back to the drawing board to strengthen their protections.
CODEX makes it clear that the cracked version of Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection should not be played while connected to the internet, so there’s at least one downside to not spending the $29.99 USD to just get a legitimate copy. It’s not clear why CODEX started their crack with a rather obscure game, whether it was because this game had some sort of weakness they could exploit, or maybe they’re just big fans of the game. Either way, they were able to prove that UWP can be cracked.Source: TorrentFreak