There was a time when the security of Apple’s App Store was considered fool-proof and iOS app developers were happy to launch their paid applications in the iTunes store. However, that is no longer the case. According to a report, most of iOS apps are cracked and made available for free on alternate stores within hours of their release.
It has been revealed that nearly every popular app on Apple’s App Store has already been cracked by the hackers. This exclusively applies to paid apps which are available for a price ranging from $0.99 to $999.99 on the App Store.
The developers are naturally irked and feel that their revenue is being stolen away by the cracked alternatives of their paid apps. A popular hub of such cracked apps is App Trackr, where free versions of paid apps usually appear in no time after their release.
SC Mag analyzed 30 most popular iPhone apps in Australia and discerned that half of them were already available on the App Trackr. Developers who have uploaded their games to the App Store cite that the unbelievably high piracy rates of iOS apps has led them to start offering their paid apps for free, thus forcing them to relinquish a significant sum of their rightful fortune.
Downloading pirated apps has also become a very convenient and easy process, thanks to the iOS app installous. With installous, you can track pirated apps across a number of file-sharing websites and then download them rightaway. Apple has, in the past, tried to take down the servers hosting pirated apps but online pirates relocated their servers to thwart such attempts.
Interestingly, even such apps are available which allow you to crack the digital rights and security controls of a protected iOS app with a single click. One such app is Crackulous which allows you to crack a protected iOS app and then upload it right away to the App Trackr store.
The method used by Crackulous, as explained by an online wiki for iOS app pirates, is as follows, “A debugger is attached to the executable and is used to dump the decrypted segments before the executable launches. The decrypted segments are then transposed onto the original binary, and the LC_ENCRYPTION_INFO load command’s cryptid field is changed to 0.”
Apple actively tried to counter iOS app piracy in the initial days but it appears that the tech giant is increasingly failing to succeed in its attempts. And the onus of the losses goes straight on the app developers. However, the popularity of piracy of iOS apps is primarily because of the fact that many third-party apps are not good enough in their quality, something which aids in frustrating the regular iOS users and encourages them to jump ship.
Until Apple improves the quality of third-party apps hosted on the App Store, the piracy of these apps will continue unabated. And in the long-run, Apple will be forced to tackle the issue to sustain the growth of the App Store.
Source: SC Mag