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Adobe has presented hackers with yet another challenge thanks to their new breed of Creative Suite 4 (CS4) applications that were released less than two weeks ago. They try do everything they can to stop software pirates from stealing their programs, but it’s inevitable that someone somewhere will find a workaround.

Unfortunately for Adobe that time came way too soon with CS4. It didn’t take long for the bulky downloads to get transformed into torrents, and then shared across networks worldwide. The Windows version of the Adobe CS4 Master Suite weighs in at 5.6GB, while the Mac version is nearly 7GB. It’s not exactly something you’d want to download via dial-up.

The catch… most downloads being posted merely contain trial versions of each Adobe CS4 application. Working cracks and key generators are available separately though. Some cracks are designed to actually patch the executable files for various programs (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc…), while others take a more interesting approach. In fact one version doesn’t have to modify any of the files.

The first workaround that was found uses a key generator that spits out keys for both Windows and Mac versions of the Master Suite. Once the software tries to contact Adobe, however, the keys will get deactivated and you’ll have until the end of the year before Photoshop and the other apps will stop working. Ingeniously someone came up with a way to get around this by modifying the operating system’s HOSTS file (available on both Mac and Windows) so that any requests to Adobe’s server’s never leave the comfort of your machine. If it can’t contact Adobe then it can’t deactivate the software.

Your activation system was a valiant effort Adobe, but it looks like it will be another 18-months (or whenever CS5 is released) before you’ll get another shot at stopping the pirates.