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Microsoft Adding Code 'Obfuscation' to Orcas

Microsoft announced this week it is adding an enhanced version of Dotfuscator Community Edition (CE) to the next major release of Microsoft Visual Studio, code-named "Orcas."

The announcement came at the company's EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa sales region) TechEd conference being held in Barcelona, Spain.

Dotfuscator, from PreEmptive Solutions, is a code protection tool that "obfuscates" -- muddles, confuses, obscures -- code so that it cannot be easily reverse engineered by hackers using decompiler tools.

The aim is to make it harder for hackers to break into applications by transforming applications -- renaming identifiers to meaningless characters, obfuscating metadata and altering control flow so that obfuscated .NET code is much harder to understand, according to statements by PreEmptive Solutions.

Dotfuscator CE is an entry-level tool already included in the Professional and Enterprise editions of Visual Studio.NET 2003 and the Standard and Professional editions of Visual Studio 2005 as well as the Architect, Developer, Test and Suite editions of Visual Studio Team System. In order to run, CE requires that Visual Studio also be running. It is targeted at students and freeware authors, the Mayfield Village, Ohio company said.

The upcoming version of Dotfuscator CE to be included with Orcas will feature full integration with Visual Studio, enabling automatic resolution of build dependencies, seamless integration with other post-build processes such as installation script generation, and a consistent means to manage obfuscation artifacts that streamline debugging, patch management and distributed development processes, according to Microsoft.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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