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In yo' app catalog, cracking yo' apps!   (Source: WPCentral via YouTube)
Apparently Microsoft "ironclad" piracy protections aren't really that strong

Thus far the Windows Phone 7 platform hasn't reportedly been suffering as severely from piracy as Apple's iOS or Google's Android.  However, Microsoft may be in for a similar fate as its competitors.

In six hours, a developer advising technical blog site WPCentral was able to create an app (named "FreeMarketPlace") that downloaded any app from Microsoft's WP7 Marketplace, and removed the protections from it [video].  The cracked app could then be directly loaded on an unlocked handset, or be saved to your hard drive.

WPCentral was ardent that it would not publish details of how the hack worked, and that it only made the video as a cry to action for Microsoft.  The site comments, "We are confident Microsoft will work hard to implement a stronger DRM system, in part due to this proof-of-concept demonstration."

The site had previously laid out a plan of attack for cracking Microsoft's DRM scheme, writing that the necessary steps were to:

  • Download all the apps from the Marketplace: done (or can be done)
  • Seed those apps in a torrent for peer to peer distribution
  • Circumvent the 10 sideload app limit: done (see here)
  • Enable a disabled app: tricky, but can be done, no method to do it en masse
  • Get around code obfuscation (not mentioned by V@l€n, we'll do it for him)
  • Remove XAP security signature: needs work

That report came following the post of a white paper detailing the initial steps on the XDA site (a resource for Microsoft developers) by hacker named V@l€n.  

Keep in mind, however, without security protections properly in place, pirate programs may be unexpectedly modified to contain trojans or other malware.  

Modified apps distributed via third-party apps stores were identified this week as creating a growing Android phone botnet in China.  Thus when WP7's DRM is eventually cracked in full, beware if you're downloading pirated apps with your phone.

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RE: ...why?
By Jrouss on 1/2/2011 9:47:45 AM , Rating: 2
Most consumer don't understand that DRM exists or what it does. That said I think DRM is being reffered to in terms that are to because it encompasses every kind of DRM. I personally don't care if a program needs a key to run. I do however care that I need to be online and have my activation validated and its status revalidated every time I use the program.

I have also seen and experienced cases in which DRM has totally screwed me. One example is a Windows XP system I was working on that I had to replace some hardware. This system never activated properly after I replaced the HD because it was an OEM system, all I did was fix a computer that had a legal copy of windows. FYI I understand the OEM license limitations, it doesn't make it right though. This example actually forced me to look at ways to bypass the activation because neither Dell or Microsoft cares. Another example is when I bought music that I could never listen to because it required online authentication. This happened when I was deployed overseas and did not have easy access to the internet. Come to think of it this was also Microsoft DRM for some wma files I bought with Music Match.

I am also not okay with the fact that many DRM schemes monitor and store data about usage and in some cases location. I don't know about anyone else but, shouldn't it be no ones business when I when I listen to a song I purchased? Really when did we accept this B.S. companies get us to buy their stuff, they spy on us and sell this data and then figure out ways to sell us more stuff.

Instead of the front door example I look at it like this. I buy a lawn mower and mow my lawn. No one monitors when I start the lawn mower nor do they own a key I need to start it. Now I understand that I can't copy my lawn mower and give it to my neighbor but I just don't see how MOST commonly used DRM is good for anyone but businesses.

An article I remember this article from a few years ago discussing this issue. BTW I do not file share nor do I think piracy is right.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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