I've been cracked!

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by j-a-x, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. j-a-x macrumors 65816

    j-a-x

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    #1
    So it looks like somebody has cracked my app and put it up for free download for jailbroken users with some sort of app pirating app installed.

    A friend of mine sent me this screenshot.

    Does anybody know if there is anything I can do about it?

    photo.PNG
     
  2. PhoneyDeveloper macrumors 68030

    PhoneyDeveloper

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    #2
    The barn door is already closed. You could send an email to that web site telling them to stop distributing your app but I doubt that will help.

    If you want to attempt to prevent future cracking you'll have to spend some time learning how to do that.
     
  3. j-a-x thread starter macrumors 65816

    j-a-x

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    #3
    So is there anything that can be done to prevent cracking? Or at least to display a friendly message in the cracked version telling people I'd appreciate it if they would pay the $0.99 ? It would be really cool if I could somehow enable iAds when cracked too.
     
  4. Atothendrew24 macrumors member

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    Jun 30, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    #4
  5. PhoneyDeveloper macrumors 68030

    PhoneyDeveloper

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    #5
    I think that the is_encrypted() code in that post is a reliable way to tell if the app has been cracked. All of the methods used to crack naive apps are based on using gdb to decrypt the app and then write a decrypted version out to a new file.

    And FYI the PT_DENY_ATTACH method has been disallowed by Apple. I had an app rejected that used that method. I think it's possible that Apple was attaching a debugger to the app during testing, which caused the app to crash, which caused apple to reject it. Also, ptrace is considered a private api.
     
  6. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #6
    Forget about pirates and put the effort you would have spent on trying to stop them into making the app better for paying customers (or better at getting new paying customers).
     
  7. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #7
    Not only do you already offer a free version, but the regular app is $0.99 and still gets ripped off. That's just sad.

    B
     
  8. dime21 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    #8
    Easy. Hire an attorney and sue the offender. In fact, US law requires you to- if you don't, it has been successfully argued in the past that a failure to defend your copyrighted works constitutes abandonment of your copyright. Yeah, really.
     
  9. nickculbertson macrumors regular

    nickculbertson

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    Nov 19, 2010
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #9
    I doubt the legal cost would be recouped by any damages but that is interesting about the abandonment.
     
  10. dime21 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    #10
    How do you know? Maybe this developer writes apps for a living and makes a lot of money? Or maybe he lives in a state where the loser must pay the winner's legal fees? Or maybe it really is a tiny amount of money and not worth it to hire an attorney - in which case he can argue the case on his own, in small claims court; a very inexpensive proposition. The point here being that the OP has many legal options at his disposal... but doing nothing at all, means he's already lost. OP: Go get 'em!
     
  11. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #11
    That's why it's a waste of time to try to prevent piracy. In most cases 99% of people who download the pirated version would not have paid for it if that was the only option.

    Just trying to figure out the identity of an individual or group that he can actually sue is probably going to cost more than it is worth. You can't exactly just look up Ab3r1Kanobee in the phone book to let him know he's being sued.
     
  12. dime21 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    #12
    I've never used the jailbreak "app store" but I would imagine this person has an account at this app store if he's offering this for download. And the app store has an IP address, which has a registered owner... not that difficult.
     
  13. admanimal macrumors 68040

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    Apr 22, 2005
    #13
    Right, and once you get that IP address, let's see how quickly the ISP that controls it is willing to divulge its owner's personal information to some random guy without a lawyer involved. Never mind the decent possibility that it isn't even in this country and that the pirate has taken steps to anonymize his identity. Even huge software companies don't waste their money going after most pirates; there's no way it's worth the time and money of a lone software developer.
     
  14. 1458279 Suspended

    1458279

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #14
    What did the music industry do about the massive spreading of music via the P2P/Napster networks...
    They were successful against Napster, and there were rumors that some people were sued over the music they had.
    I think apps are in a somewhat simular boat.

    One thing you could do is have constant updates via appstore, that would make it more troublesome for them to keep cracking the app.

    At some point, if there's that much work involved in steeling a $.99 app, they'll just buy it.

    There is also a strong argument about these people not buying the app anyways...
    I have several apps that are free and I would not have downloaded most of them otherwise.

    I wonder if there's a way to detect and then cause ads to display so that it could work as a free/ad based app.
     
  15. counciler macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    #15
    100% true. If you look me up in a search engine you'll mostly see a bunch of lawsuits pending against me for this particular thing. I also somewhat agree with the "99% of people wouldn't have bought it anyways". (not the case with PC gaming). But I would've never bought those songs anyways that I got sued for. I'm perfectly content with stuff like the radio and Pandora and whatnot.

    I no longer torrent stuff like I used to, but not because of the music industry, but because I realized what it must be like to have your stuff stolen. Now that I'm developing I know even more how much work is involved and how much it sucks for people to just take it instead of paying a meezly dollar or two when they'll pay 50-60 bucks for an XBox game. Never mind some full featured apps you can get for 7 bucks on the iPhone that are about as good as those same XBox games, people will complain about the price.
     
  16. 1458279 Suspended

    1458279

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #16
    I was talking to someone the other day and they were talking about the price being so high... it was $4.99 !!! I paid $50ish for the last few games I bought for the PC! I can buy 10 high end game for that!
    They'll complain about a $4.99 app, then go to StarBucks and get a $5 coffee! LOL!

    So how did you get tagged with downloaded music? I've heard about this, but wondered how they could search your personal property to get proof. Was it because they downloaded FROM you and had your IP?
     
  17. ivan.blsv macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    #17
    Your app has been cracked... this is sad, no doubt. But there is a reason for that. I personally, use cracked apps on my JB device to test them and if the app or game is worth to pay whatever the price is I ALWAYS BUY IT, if it's a crappy one I simply delete it. So, in my opinion the reason for cracking apps is that in most cases, I would say 90% or so there is no such thing as a trial period or a free version, if there would be such option, those apps wouldn't be cracked (almost). I'm sure that everybody with idevices know that Appstore is flooded with junk, I mean real junk... and in the very beginning when I just bought my iPhone, I've lost around $150 buying that crap and never ever have got a penny back, is that fair??? NO... . Yes, the description and graphics looks so awesome in Appstore, but the app is obviously a piece of ******, and has one star reviews. The price is not an issue, but the quality is, and greediness of many brainless developers is... . Why devs with a $0.99 app are start complaining that it has been cracked and distributed for free (NOT ADDRESSED TO YOU PERSONALLY) and when it comes to refund money for not satisfied customers, the developer disappearing forever??? Well, unfortunately this is not only my opinion, almost every forum has similar subjects.
     
  18. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #18
    There's a special place in hell for those who steal 99c apps.
     
  19. dok24 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    #19
    Napster was different - much easier to trace. Jailbreaking is legal in the states, and finding somebody to sue will not be worth your time or effort as people have already states. Just find solace in the fact that almost nobody who is downloading applications from Cydia has any interest in paying for apps - no matter how cheap they are, so you really aren't losing any money.

    On a side note.... the music industry definitely lost its war against p2p.
     
  20. hexonxonx macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Denver Colorado
    #20
    There was a Police Scanner app a few years ago being distributed on one of the forums. The app owner got tired of the app being distributed and decided to add some code that told the user to pay for the app and then took them to the iTunes store without warning, closing the app. Within minutes of the app being updated that did this, the person who cracked the app, had this newest version cracked again to remove that code that did this.

    It's a game to the crackers and it's a game they truly enjoy.
     
  21. j-a-x thread starter macrumors 65816

    j-a-x

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    #21
    My app has a free version which is almost full featured aside from iAds and some minor limitations, so there's really no reason for it to be cracked.
     
  22. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #22
    Bored students crack stuff purely for street cred. Nothing to do with the usefulness or uselessness of your app. In fact, if you make your app difficult to crack, it might be more likely to get cracked, because some kid can get more street cred for a harder crack.

    It's less than 10% of iPhone owners who download this stuff, and a lot of them have no money to spend anyway. So just ignore them and concentrate on the 90%+ of the market who do buy apps, and have the money to pay for your apps.
     
  23. Holoshed macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #23
    That is the thing that people, individual to corporate seem to believe that a cracked download is always by someone who had the ability or will to pay for the item that is stolen. Dealing with software is different than working with a physical store where someone may steal a pack of underwear because they need them or even a toothbrush etc. Think of it more like someone stealing a 500.00 shirt from a store because there is NO way they could afford it otherwise.

    You may be selling your app at 99 cents but as most developers are noticing now, people are a LOT more picky of what they bought. It is like now 99 cents is 20.00. On the other hand you may not realize this but a lot of people under the age of 18 use iDevices. Look around when you go out, teen girls texting or boys playing a game... You will notice a good deal (or I do) are Apple made devices. Look in the news lately at hackers that are caught, ones who do actual "defacing, hacking, cracking" are usually not 40 year olds with disposable income. A good deal are near or under 18. Some of those even still have to get parental approval before any money is spent because its mommy's cc on their apple account (or it was a itunes gift card etc). They are working with 0 to little money to spend.

    Now, say they think your app is cool but cant afford it (as in never would be able to no matter what within a year or two) but their friends told them about the "underground free app sites" that they can use. Even if they do it for fun or just to play with your app, dont consider it a lot sale.

    If you take anything personal online you will just have undue worry because people tend to feel invincible on the net so they do and say stuff (like crack and post apps) for the heck of it. In all honest truth as much as it hurts, listen to others advice and just consider it inevitable.

    Look at TimeWarner who put in jailbreak detection in their new ipad updated app. It did nothing but check some paths that are only there in a jailbroken device. Guess what, it was cracked within hours.

    Even if you have some amazing anti crack code in your apps, dont forget that those who have jailbroken devices CAN and WILL (with knowledge) use their skills and or time to make what is broke (on purpose) work.

    On a side note, I am surprised the TW app coders didn't even try to obfuscate the paths and used plain strings so people just hexed them out so it returned false. In other words it didn't exactly take skill.
     
  24. 1458279 Suspended

    1458279

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #24
    This used to be done with Direct TV

    There used to be forums for steeling Direct TV shows, they would mod the cards and get free Direct TV for a while, then DTV would change things, the programmers would figure out the new trick and it went back and forth for years.
    Then DTV changed the system. All the old cards, card writers etc were worthless. It took years to break the old system and don't know if they ever broke the new system.

    DTV used to monitor the forums where people learned to break codes.

    We could do the same thing: Join the web sites where people learn to break the apps, monitor HOW they do it and then change things to see how they respond. This worked well for DTV, not perfect just well.

    On the other subject. Last month I needed a word processor for some legal work. MS Word was too much $$$, so I got OpenOffice free and it's legal and works well.

    My Point: I wasn't going to buy MS Word, MS didn't lose a sale, I would never justify a purchase of Word, I just don't use it enuff. It's been YEARS since I needed a word processor. My needs are met with a FREE Open Source product.

    I didn't even want to buy Win7, but I got a student discount @ $29, so I'm ok with that.

    Same with music, I wasn't going to buy the songs anyways, I'll go back to cassettes if I have to, they do work fine. Not a chance I'm spending $3K on songs.

    If we stopped all cracked downloads, the sales might jump a bit but I don't think it would be that much. It might even spark a price war.

    All things concidered, I think a good app developer with a few good apps has it good. Very low advertising, distribution, accounting (partial) costs. You have a platform where you can reach hundreds of MILLIONS of customers for near free. Very workable business model.
     
  25. Holoshed macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #25
    While the idea and intentions are good, DTV could actually "redo" the system. You are talking about Apple here with a standard set of tools that they will not change because some people got cracked. No one but Apple can "change the system" enough to do what you are thinking and I just dont see that happening.

    It usually works where the legit users are in the dark of how things are done, it is a smart developer who is a hacker too. If you know how to do what they are doing, learn from it and use it to your advantage, in that way joining those forums are useful, but do not expect a shift in anything other than your own personal coding style and methods.

    I wont even cover here how you can self sign apps if you have the method to do it (and a little cash usually but that is usually around 15.00). Most of that method can be automated, even the app that does the self signing. No xcode needed. Without covering specifics, its usually best to just keep DRM out of the equation and make your product worth buying. Messing with those who crack you will only make more crackers pop up for the pleasure of saying they did it. In other words you dont even have to be jailbroken to run "cracked apps" if you have the will to do so.

    In other words, you dont have to be jailbroken just to run apps you didn't buy if you have the will to do so.
     

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