One iOS piracy system disappears, two new ones arrive

On December 30, 2012, Sebastien Page reported on the idownloadblog that “the Hackulous team announced today on its site that it is shutting down, bringing down its most popular apps in the process: Installous and AppSync.” Installous is an app that allows users to install cracked apps for free, without requiring that the iPhone be jailbroken first. It seems, writes Page, “like a small victory against app piracy,” but warns, “I’m fairly certain that other developers will pick up where Hackulous stopped, and will likely provide updated versions of Installous and AppSync in the future.”

The Next Web reported yesterday on two new services that “bypass Apple DRM to allow pirated iOS app installs without jailbreaking” on the iPhone and iPad: Zeusmos and KuaiYong. In reality, neither are that new. Zeusmos, reported back in May 2012, is an “app that will revolutionize codesigning on iOS devices without a jailbreak!” It continues, “Simply launch Zeusmos, search an app or enter in your own download link, let it download, and tap install.”

Zeusmos is developed by uhelios. In a new statement this morning he explains, “My core belief, and I mean this truly whether you want to believe it or not, is that you should try before you buy. Try it and if you like it, support the developer for the hours of work that he put into it.” He adds, “It is out of my control as to whether the user uses it for pirating or not, in the same way that you use your very computer for good or evil.” But he owns that he is now in a “sticky mess” (possibly because of the publicity surrounding TNW’s article), and, “As a result, I intend on resolving the controversy regarding Zeusmos and its brought about association with piracy.”

uhelios has now promised a new version to be released later today that will include “more rigid improvements in user awareness of installing unauthorized applications,” and “will continue to never encourage the installation of applications that have been cracked or pirated in any form.”

KuaiYong is a Chinese app store. Here there is little doubt about the piracy. “We’ve been in contact with developers who have provided us with logs showing pirated installs of their apps. Some of the logs are showing thousands of users installing the ‘same’ copy of the app,” reports TNW. “This indicates that the same exact copy is being distributed with the same set of (encrypted) credentials.”

Once again, however, it is not a brand new service. Techinasia reports today, “Digging back through KuaiYong’s official Sina Weibo account (here), it actually launched the first beta of its rogue app back in June 2012.” Techinasia’s Steven Millward suggests that the site remained unseen in the west for so long because it is ‘only in Chinese’. “More trawling through Weibo,” he continues, “suggests that the man behind KuaiYong is Xie Lei... who calls himself the CEO of this rather dodgy new Chinese startup.”

We wonder, concludes Millward, “when Mr. Xie will get a call from Apple’s lawyers.” uhelios will be hoping his new Zeusmos will prevent such a call to himself.

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?