Apple is clearly not having a good start to the new year. Not only has the fruit company had to address the recent breaches conducted by both Google and Facebook, it now appears to have another big issue to deal with; software pirates.
According to a report by Reuters, the so-called software pirates have been distributing hack versions of popular apps. Popular apps that include Spotify, Angry Birds, Pokemon and Minecraft, to name a few. The software pirate did this by hijacking technology used by Apple.
Specifically, the pirates discovered a way to use digital certificates that are meant for enterprise usages which would allow companies to deploy internal apps to their staff without the need of going through Apple’s App Store. Thus allowing the aforementioned apps and their corresponding companies to distribute their apps through dubious software distributors such as TutuApp, Panda Helper, AppValley, and TweakBox.
In this case, the primary reason why app developers do this is purely financial; because it circumvents Apple’s App Store, they do not have to pay Apple its usual cut to distribute the app. Thus allowing them to keep all of the profits to themselves.
Naturally, it goes without saying that none of this – in the eyes of Apple at least – adheres to the company from Cupertino’s strict app guidelines on the App Store. And is therefore both a breach of contract and does allow enable Apple to cancel these certificates.
Of course, executing the action is easier said than done. Primarily because Apple has, at the current time, no fool-proof way of tracking the real-time distribution of these rogue apps and their certification in real-time. Neither does it currently have the means of actually stopping the spreading of “modified apps”.