Chinese site exploits Apple tools to offer pirated iOS apps to non-jailbroken devices
A new Chinese website reportedly exploits Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) own licensing technology to offer pirated versions of premium iOS applications to non-jailbroken devices.
The site, 7659.com, first identified by Taiwanese blog M.I.C. Gadget, is a Web portal mirroring a desktop program called Kuaiyong, owned by Beijing-based YouRanTianDi Technology Co Ltd. The site leverages Apple's enterprise app deployment platform, which allows corporate users to roll out apps to iPhone and iPad-equipped employees--the licensing protocol effectively enables unlimited installs using a sideloading-like method that does not require device jailbreaking (a legal but warranty-voiding process that allows consumers to run unauthorized software, features and user interface tweaks not supported by the original manufacturer).
VentureBeat notes that 7659.com offers free, full-featured versions of premium apps and games including Final Fantasy V (typically priced at $15.99), Badland ($3.99) and Le Vamp ($1.99).
"Statistics have shown that a significant amount of Apple users are Chinese-based. However, the fact is that in China, a large number of Apple users are not very familiar with the iTunes system and how to effectively manage it," Kuaiyong states. "In order for Chinese Apple fans to download applications securely, Kuaiyong developed its own method of giving users access to thousands of free apps without having to jailbreak their devices. Kuaiyong offers detailed descriptions of apps, free app download trial[s], iOS device management and [a] visual and audio file backup system. iOS system backup and recovery features will also be released in the very near future."
Because the 7659.com proxy software is not supported internationally, the pirated apps are not available to consumers outside of the Chinese market, although ID address spoofing allows overseas users to browse the site. M.I.C. Gadget reports the Kuaiyong team is readying an international version of the program, with an English version optimized for Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows platform coming soon.
Apple has not yet responded to requests for comment on the matter.
App piracy remains an issue for Apple despite the company's ongoing efforts to lock down the iOS ecosystem. Earlier this year, piracy community Hackulous closed, spelling the demise of its Installous jailbreak app, but new piracy options quickly emerged to fill the void; one app, Zeusmos, provides users with a license and provisioning profile that allows them to install pirated apps, and it is available for free on jailbroken devices or sold as a premium download for non-jailbroken units.
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