Technical Solutions for COBOL

Redvers Cloaking Device

The Redvers Cloaking Device is a COBOL obfuscator that protects the intellectual property in COBOL source code by removing all comprehensible text, names and labels without changing the logic. This product is a valuable resource for outsourcing, backup, cloud and business continuity projects. It can even be used to bring in-house COBOL products to market.

Main features:

In these times of global outsourcing, cloud processing and industrial espionage, it has never been more important to protect intellectual property from theft and misuse. Whether you're an end user considering the option of outsourcing, a company with COBOL applications that could be sold for profit or a service company writing COBOL applications for clients, the Redvers Cloaking Device can be an essential part of securing the future of your business.

The Redvers Cloaking Device protects the intellectual property in COBOL source code, while keeping it in source code form. "Cloaked" source code can be recompiled, migrated or outsourced just like any other application code. If you develop commercial software in COBOL, distributing in source code form gives you access to all COBOL platforms.

Download a PDF White Paper on the Redvers Cloaking Device:

How it Works

The Redvers Cloaking Device (RCCLOAK) is a self-contained batch COBOL program that requires no copybooks, includes or objects. The RCCLOAK source code has itself been "cloaked" in order to protect authors and clients from code alterations by unqualified personnel.

In order to "cloak" a program, just pass the original source code to RCCLOAK as a data file and it will write a file containing the equivalent "cloaked" COBOL source code. The "cloaked" source can then be compiled, linked and run in place of the original source.

Cloaking Device Flowchart

Technical Information

The Redvers Cloaking Device (2.4) consists of a standard batch COBOL program (RCCLOAK) that compiles in the same way as any other COBOL program. It has one input file (RCCOBIN) which is assigned to the target source and one output file (RCCOBOUT) that produces the "cloaked"/obfuscated source. Both input and output files are sequential 80 byte fixed length records.

The target source can be any variation of COBOL program, from any machine environment. The only requirements are that the program conforms to the standard 80 byte reference format and contains the DATA DIVISION statement.

A sample section of "cloaked" source code can be seen below:

Cloaked Code Sample produced by the Redvers Cloaking Device

Once a program has been "cloaked", it is not possible to reverse engineer the source so that meaningful text and data names are restored.

"Cloaked" source code remains compliant with all COBOL standards and can be compiled, linked and executed in the normal way. "Cloaked" programs are currently running all over the world, on iSeries/AS400, UNIX, HP, Linux, Fujitsu BS2000, Micro Focus and IBM mainframe platforms.

It is important to note that the "cloaking" process does not attempt to check the syntax or validity of the input source code. Therefore if compile errors exist before "cloaking", the same errors will exist afterwards.

Specific lines within the input source code can be preserved from the "cloaking" process if required. This can be useful when source code is outsourced or offered for sale and certain information needs to be passed to the supplier/customer.

Version 2.3 of the device introduced the facility to encrypt procedure division literals. If these literals are left in obfuscated code without encryption, they can provide important clues about program functionality to an adversary trying to break into the "cloaked" code.

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"The cloaking software appears to be working very well."

Fiserv (USA)

"We have been testing your Redvers Cloaking Device, and we have found it to be an excellent product. We haven't had any problem when running it, and the result after converting one of our source code is fantastic."

Infodesa (Spain)

"the cloaking tool is a fine product."

Valutility Software (USA)