Even CodeVeil has bugs

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I love CodeVeil. From my point of view CodeVeil is simply the best tool to protect .NET assemblies from being reflectored, decompiled or whatever. It is very powerful, offers a wide range of protection aspects and still comes with a handy gui. So far I haven’t seen a method to crack veiled assemblies and that’s why I really rely on it for my commercial products.

You don’t find bugs in CodeVeil when you try to find them, but half a year ago we found this one by chance. CodeVeil veils well, but the resulting code throws a mighty exception.

You don’t need spectacular code to lure the bug out of it’s hole – here is the prelude:

private static void Main(string[] args)
{
    // Get list and fill it with values
    List<Capsule<int>> l = new List<Capsule<int>>();
    l.Add(new Capsule<int>(23));
    l.Add(new Capsule<int>(42));

    // Have it sorted
    List<Capsule<int>> l2 = GetSortedReturnList(l);

    // Show result
    foreach (Capsule<int> ci in l2)
        Console.WriteLine(ci.Item);

    Console.ReadLine();
}

A simple list of two ints that are encapsulated in a generic type. The generic type just makes sure that two items can be compared:

internal class Capsule<T> : IComparable<Capsule<T>>
{
    public T Item;

    public Capsule(T i)
    {
        Item = i;
    }

    public int CompareTo(Capsule<T> other)
    {
        return Item.ToString().CompareTo(other.Item.ToString());
    }
}

And this code causes the exception when being executed by the veiled assembly:

private static List<Capsule<T>> 
    GetSortedReturnList<T>(List<Capsule<T>> list)
{           
    int sortOrder = 1;
    list.Sort(
        delegate(Capsule<T> a, Capsule<T> b) 
          { return sortOrder * a.CompareTo(b); });

    return (list);
}

The sore point is the sortOrder variable being multiplied with the result of a.CompareTo(b) used in an anonymous method. Okay, you wouldn’t expect this code from a beginner, but it’s not rocket-science either. So we were very astonished and it took us quite some time to track this down and to believe our eyes. Maybe the problem with CodeVeil is related to the internal representation of anonymous method. When you use a constant instead of a variable

const int sortOrder = 1;

the problem disappears. I guess the compiler eliminates the constant and CodeVeil will not see it. But it remains, when you use a Linq-notation here:

list.Sort((a, b) => a.CompareTo(b)*sortOrder);

As said before we found this bug half a year ago. We contacted Xheo and received a very quick and friendly reply, but no solution. Seasons went by and several new versions of CodeVeil were released; but this bug is still present. At least in the stand-alone version.

But there is hope: The new beta preview of the DeployLX suite contains an obviously new version of CodeVeil and the bug is finally gone. And – by the way – this new version seems to offer a nice package of new feature and improved power! So, please, Mr. Xheo, release a new stand-alone-version of CodeVeil based on the new beta preview!

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