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ABYSS: An Architecture for Software Protection
June 1990 (vol. 16 no. 6)
pp. 619-629

ABYSS (a basic Yorktown security system) is an architecture for protecting the execution of application software. It supports a uniform security service across the range of computing systems. The use of ABYSS in solving the software protection problem, especially in the lower end of the market, is discussed. Both current and planned software distribution channels are supportable by the architecture, and the system is nearly transparent to legitimate users. A novel use-once authorization mechanism, called a token, is introduced as a solution to the problem of providing authorizations without direct communication. Software vendors may use the system to obtain technical enforcement of virtually any terms and conditions of the sale of their software, including such things as rental software. Software may be transferred between systems, and backed up to guard against loss in case of failure. The problem of protecting software on these systems is discussed, and guidelines to its solution are offered.

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Index Terms:
software protection architecture; execution protection; software transfer; software back-up; loss guarding; ABYSS; a basic Yorktown security system; application software; uniform security service; computing systems; software distribution channels; use-once authorization; token; technical enforcement; rental software; security of data; software engineering.
Citation:
S.R. White, L. Comerford, "ABYSS: An Architecture for Software Protection," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 619-629, June 1990, doi:10.1109/32.55090
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