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The Gray Man


My professional name is “Joshua” AKA Ron Haines and I specialize in reverse engineering encrypted computer software and solving security issues that companies often have with their software. I operate a website called “endlessvisions.net” and it has been active since 1995.

The FBI and various corporations have tried numerous times to shut Endless Visions down by Federal Search Warrants and lawsuits, but each time they have failed because I have operated the company legally and in a professional way.

Lots of clients have asked why I go by “Joshua” and I replied that I was watching a movie called “WARGAMES” and the Government computer was called JOSHUA. I thought that would be cool to call my computer at the time Joshua and the name stuck.

Some software developers using copy protection on their products, find the whole subject of archival backup offensive. The developers want their copyright respected, and go to great lengths to try to protect their investment by putting expensive security on their software.

On the other side, the purchasers of that software may have laid out a considerable investment and they feel they should have the right to back-up their purchased product for protection from theft and/or mechanical failures or acts of nature. Software development companies go in and out of business frequently and then the purchaser of that software is left with no recourse and no support on this expensive software when the dongles are defective or stolen or incompatible with upgraded support software. Many large corporations have invested high dollars to purchase software to run their heavy machinery or operate the elevators in their skyscrapers or guide the navigation system in their boats. The looms that manufacture rugs and fabrics are run by software. Software runs the medical equipment in a hospital and software runs complex transportation systems.

In many cases, the original software developer has had a company “put on the security”, commonly referred to as a hardware dongle, to be sure that their software product is legally purchased and not given to friends and colleagues, thereby keeping the purchase price stable. Dongles are small hardware devices that plug into a parallel port or a USB port on the back of a computer. In the frequent case that a dongle fails or is rendered incompatible with upgraded software, that means a company would be placing a panicked call to the software development company trying to find a solution in order to get their machines, their livelihood, back up and running. Some of these legal owner companies are met with silence. They are met with disconnected phone numbers, messages that their old software is no longer supported, or no answer period to that software developer that sold them the software, on which their whole company is based.

Their only choice is to hire a person like me to help them. There have been hundreds of licensed corporations and small companies over the years hire Endless Visions to help them with these security issues so that they are able to make a backup of their software and put that dongle in a safety deposit box. I only deal with licensed users who can prove their ownership. Their company serial numbers are embedded in the software, which identifies the owner.

If you are interested in this type of a profession, be prepared for threats, lawsuits, and the FBI coming to your home and seizing all of your computer equipment. I have survived four federal Search warrants and never been arrested, handcuffed, nor did I spend any time in jail. There were lots sleepless nights thinking about how I was going to defend myself in court, but I always prevailed. The best choice was not to hire a law firm, but to defend myself as “Pro Per”. These law firms are very expensive and you will soon run out of money. There will be no other choice, but to agree to a plea bargain and give up your rights.

I have made mistakes in my life, but by taking chances, I have had great rewards. If you have not made any mistakes, chances are you have not accomplished anything!

So if you have something that you want to accomplish, take a chance, and go for it.

I’m now 68 years old and find myself writing this book. I started out in 1985 programming the commodore computers until 1993. Then, I got into the IBM PC market and have helped hundreds of companies with their security needs and other complex encryption problems to present date. Thinking about all the memories and interesting people I have worked with over the last 30 years, I would love to do it all over again. It has been a very interesting ride.

As Davy Crockett once said, “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.”