Software Watermarking: State of the Art and Future Directions

Dr. Christian Collberg - Department of Computer Science, University of Arizona
Date and time
Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 5:30 PM - caffè, tè & C. ore 17.00
Ca' Vignal - Piramide, Floor 0, Hall Verde
Programme Director
Roberto Giacobazzi
External reference
Publication date
September 4, 2006


Watermarking embeds a secret message into a cover message. In media watermarking the secret is a copyright notice and the cover a digital image, an audio file, or a video clip. Watermarking an object discourages intellectual property theft, or when such theft has occurred, allows us to prove ownership.
In this talk we will discuss the watermarking of software.
Informally, a software watermarking algorithm should embed an integer W into a program such that W cannot be easily found (the embedding is stealthy); W is as large as possible (the algorithm has a high data rate); W can still be extracted after an attacker has translated, optimized, or obfuscated the watermarked program; and the embedding does not adversely affect performance.

We will discuss how software watermarking algorithms should be evaluated, present currently known algorithms and discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss future research directions. Finally, we will demonstrate the SandMark tool which has been designed to make it easy to implement and evaluate software protection algorithms.

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