Apple’s App Store for OSX, released at the start of January, has seemingly fallen prey to piracy within less than 24 hours.
For the last two years, the Hackulous community has been working to circumvent the DRM on Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad products. Their agenda is fairly straightforward. They do what they do because they believe that Apple’s App Store is unfair to consumers since it has no trial service or refund policy.
Hackulous are most well known for two products. The first is Apptrakr, a web-based index of cracked apps which has between 10 and 11 million unique users per month. The second, Installous, is a piece of software resident on 8 to 9 million jailbroken Apple devices which allows the installation of software found via Apptrackr and elsewhere.
Crackers have devised a method of replacing signature files on paid applications with those of free ones, enabling pirated versions to be installed without the App Store complaining.
“Essentially what will happen is when you’re using Installous you’ll get a little pop up that says ‘Hey, you have an application that Apptrackr doesn’t. We will add the application to a queue in the background (if you say yes) and it will start uploading tiny pieces of it, kind of like a torrent, up to the cloud’,” Dissident explains.
So, unlike BitTorrent, where one starts with a single file that multiplies the more people jump on the torrent, with Mobile Hunt the start point is perhaps hundreds or thousands of copies of the same piece of software, and little tiny pieces of each upload from each person’s device to the cloud in order to make one final copy, which will then become available from Apptrackr. From there it will be available for millions to download.
This will apparently not be released until at least February, with Hackulous member ‘Dissident’ telling P2P news site TorrentFreak that “We’re not going to release Kickback until well after the store’s been established, well after developers have gotten their applications up. We don’t want to devalue applications and frustrate developers.”