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Software pirates distribute hacked apps on iPhones by abusing Apple’s developer platform

Software pirates distribute hacked apps on iPhones by abusing Apple’s developer platform
  • Software pirates are spreading hacked versions of apps such as Spotify, Angry Birds, Pokemon Go & Minecraft amongst others.
  • Using Apple’s developer certificates, these pirates modified iOS apps to bring out hacked versions.

Software pirates are now resorting to Apple’s developer program to modify iOS apps and distribute their hacked versions to users. It is reported that unofficial software distributors such as TutuApp, Panda Helper, AppValley and TweakBox have abused digital certificates to share their hacked versions to many iPhone users.

This allowed them to bypass the company’s stringent regulations. As a consequence, Apple, as well as genuine app makers, would lose out revenue from their apps.

Enterprise certificate abuse won't be tolerated

“Developers that abuse our enterprise certificates are in violation of the Apple Developer Enterprise Program Agreement and will have their certificates terminated, and if appropriate, they will be removed from our Developer Program completely. We are continuously evaluating the cases of misuse and are prepared to take immediate action,” an Apple spokesperson told Reuters.

App makers such as Spotify Technology SA, Rovio Entertainment Oyj, and Niantic Inc were affected by this issue. Their apps Spotify, Angry Birds, and Pokemon Go, respectively are primarily distributed by software pirates. The makers are planning to revamp their terms of service regarding their apps to combat piracy.

When it comes to tracking hacked versions, Apple does not have a go-to method to address them. However, it can terminate the certificates of these apps on the basis of misuse.

Post the discovery of pirated app versions spreading on iPhones, Apple upped its security commitment to tackle piracy. It said it will enable two-factor authentication for developer accounts by the end of February.

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