A method and system for protecting a software program recorded within a storage medium for use with or transmission to computer or processor based hardware comprises inputting a hardware code uniquely associated with the particular hardware and inputting a first software code uniquely associated with the particular embodiment of the software. A first predetermined operation is performed upon the hardware code and the first software code to produce an intermediate code. A unique activation code obtained from the software supplier is inputted and a second predetermined operation is performed upon the intermediate code and the activation code to produce a second intermediate code. The second intermediate code is compared to a second software code uniquely associated with the particular embodiment of the software and stored in a hidden location within the software. The use of the software is enabled only if the second intermediate code and the second software code are identical.