Warez groups are teams of individuals who have participated in the organized unauthorized publication of films, music, or other media, as well as those who can reverse engineer and crack the digital rights management (DRM) measures applied to commercial software. This is a list of groups, both web-based and warez scene groups, which have attained notoriety outside of their respective communities. A plurality of warez groups operate within the so-called warez scene, though as of 2019 a large amount of software and game warez is now distributed first via the web. Leaks of releases from warez groups operating within the "scene" still constitute a large amount of warez shared globally. Between 2003 and 2009 there were 3,164 active groups within the warez scene, with the majority of these groups being active for no more than two months and with only a small fraction being active for many years. The warez scene is a very competitive and volatile environment, largely a symptom of participation in its community being illegal in most countries. Groups are generally not driven by profit, but by reputation.
3DM is a Chinese video game cracking group. Their founder and leader is reported to be Su Feifei, more commonly known by the pseudonym "不死鸟" (pinyin: bù sǐ niǎo; meaning in English: Phoenix). Little else is known about Su, other than that her year of birth is speculated to be 1979. Unusual for piracy groups, 3DM's members have public profiles on the social network Sina Weibo, and use a blog to inform the public about their activities. Some members of 3DM have previously been part of NETSHOW (now known as ALI213), a group which released Chinese language copies of games using stolen cracks directly to warez scene FTP sites.
3DM were one of the first peer to peer file sharing groups to offer cracks for games which utilized DRM produced by Denuvo. As newer versions of Denuvo DRM became more challenging to reverse engineer, 3DM gave up trying to crack games with Denuvo DRM.
In 2016 the group claimed that piracy of games produced by large developers and publishers would be impossible in the coming years, due to the technological challenges of reverse engineering and ultimately cracking the virtualization and licensing schemes employed by new DRM solutions like Denuvo. One of the most notable groups on the web at the time, they publicly announced a year hiatus from developing cracks for games. Since returning in 2017, 3DM have only released games which use Steam licensing, only releasing copies of better protected games which include cracks made by other groups. This practice has been criticized by the groups whose cracks were included in releases under the 3DM name.
CONSPIR4CY (releasing mostly as CPY) is a warez group founded in 1999 in Italy. They rose in notoriety after releasing Rise of the Tomb Raider and Inside in August 2016 under the name of CONSPIR4CY, though they resumed using the 'CPY' tag shortly thereafter with the release of their cracked copy of Doom in September 2016. They became the first group to create proper cracks for games protected by the third iteration of Denuvo DRM software.
They cracked Resident Evil 7: Biohazard only five days after its release, at the time the shortest amount of time taken to develop a crack for a Denuvo DRM-protected game. They also cracked Mass Effect: Andromeda, only ten days after its release. In July 2017 the warez group SKIDROW criticized the methods used by CONSPIR4CY to crack games using Denuvo DRM. In early 2018, CPY released cracked copies of Assassin's Creed Origins and Far Cry 5, which were compiled with the most recent version of Denuvo DRM, and had additional anti-modification and anti-debugging features through the use of VMProtect software and EasyAntiCheat. In November 2018 CPY released cracks for HITMAN 2, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, A Way Out, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Pro Evolution Soccer 2019, FIFA 19 - all of which featured the latest version of Denuvo DRM, with some using additional custom DRM or off the shelf DRM such as EACore and VMProtect. In December 2018, CPY published a cracked copy of Just Cause 4, which used the latest version of Denuvo DRM, on the day after its release. They also released a crack for Battlefield V on December 22, days after its official release. In January 2019, CPY released cracked copies of Ace Combat 7, Mutant Year Zero, and Strange Brigade, as well as the first episode of Life Is Strange 2 (titled "Roads") - all 4 titles using the latest versions of Denuvo DRM.
In February 2019, CPY released Metro Exodus, which used the latest version of Denuvo DRM available, within 5 days of its release, as well as the second episode of Life Is Strange 2, titled "Rules". In September 2019, CPY published a cracked copy of the game Octopath Traveler, 93 days after its release. In November 2019, CPY released a cracked copy of Heavy Rain which featured the latest version of Denuvo DRM. After a long hiatus, CPY became active again in October 2020, releasing cracked copies of eFootball PES 2021, A Total War Saga: Troy, Mafia: Definitive Edition and Death Stranding in a single day, all of which featured the latest version of Denuvo DRM. On October 18, CPY released Marvel's Avengers, followed by Crysis Remastered on October 21, which both used Denuvo DRM.
Hoodlum (also known as HLM) mainly focused on cracking games which utilized digital rights management solutions offered by Safedisc and Securom. They were targeted as part of the Operation Site Down raids in 2005. In July 2018, some group using the HOODLUM name resumed releasing unauthorized copies of games.
PARADOX (also known as PDX and sometimes PARADiSO) was founded in 1989, mainly cracking games for the Amiga. They went on to crack software for the Windows operating system and other consoles. They were one of the earliest groups to successfully crack Windows Vista, which was supposed to be a difficult task based on changes Microsoft had made to the activation scheme for the software.
In July 2020, after 3 years of inactivity, someone published a cracked copy of Monster Hunter: World, a game utilizing Denuvo DRM, with its Iceborn DLC using the name and NFO template of the group PARADOX.
Razor 1911 (also known as RZR and RazorDOX) was founded in 1985 in Norway. Its primary bulletin board system was based in Norway. The group's main focus was to crack software for the Commodore 64 personal computer, but they also released Amiga and the IBM PC software. They were subjects of raids in Operation Buccaneer and Operation Fastlink.
The group made a comeback in June 2006, and since then has cracked modern copy protection schemes such as Rockstar Games Social Club, Ubisoft's persistent Internet connection requiring DRM, and Battle.NET. In March 2012, Razor1911 announced that their tester and coder DYCUS, who had an active role in making trainers and testing the group's releases, had died of cancer. Since then, the group has seldom released cracked games, focusing on DRM-free titles from GOG.com, as well as games for Linux and macOS.
RELOADED (also known as RLD!) was founded in June 2004. Their founders are believed to be ex-DEViANCE members, though their rival group HOODLUM claimed in December 2004 that none of DEViANCE's previous leaders had ever been part of RELOADED. The group has cracked several modern protection schemes like SecuROM 8, Blizzard's Battle.NET, and Arxan Anti-Tamper. In 2022 the group was reported as still active and working with team BTCR.
REVOLT gained popularity for creating solutions for cracked games to have working multiplayer features, and later for cracks of games using Denuvo DRM which were released by its founder. REVOLT was founded by a Bulgarian teenager who used the online handle Voksi. In July 2018 the REVOLT website began redirecting to the website of the Bulgarian Ministry of the Interior. The same month, Voksi, then in his twenties, reported having been raided by Bulgarian law enforcement in response to a complaint filed by Denuvo parent company Irdeto. In comments made to media organisation TorrentFreak, Voksi alleged that "five or six officers, including two from Bulgaria's General Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime (GDBOB) and others from a local police station" entered his home and seized personal computing equipment.
SKIDROW is a well-known cracking group originally formed in 1990, cracking games for the Amiga platform, and having used the motto "Twice the Fun - Double the Trouble!" since then. A piece of cracktro software released by SKIDROW in 1992 with the game 10 Pinball Fantasies contained a complete list of their membership at the time. The most recent incarnation of SKIDROW began releasing unauthorized copies of games in June 2007, when they announced their return to cracking software. They were the first scene group to crack the version of Ubisoft's Uplay DRM which required players to have a persistent Internet connection to Ubisoft's licensing servers, first in Assassin's Creed II and then in Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.
In July 2017, in a statement released to commemorate their 10th consecutive year of releases since re-emerging in the PC game cracking scene, SKIDROW made cryptic remarks that the techniques used by CONSPIR4CY, STEAMPUNKS, and members of the Steam Underground warez forum to crack modern copy protections are not proper. These criticisms were themselves criticized on the web, as SKIDROW's apparent standards for a proper crack would seemingly disqualify both their most notable crack of Ubisoft's persistent online connection requiring DRM, which they emulated, and their most recent notable release of a Denuvo-protected game, which they cracked by modifying the executable from another game. 2b1af7f3a8