Piracy is considered as the major issue when it comes to apps as it causes a big economic loss for the developers. A recent report from Arxan (a mobile security company) revealed a surprising fact that most of the top paid Android apps available on the Google Play store are either compromised or cracked and easily available for free to use.
If you have slightly observed the Android ecosystem then you must know that piracy is the biggest problem for developers and causes a big loss in their revenue. However, when we analyzed Arxan report closely, we found that this apps piracy or hacking business is spreading at very rapid pace. This is the main reason that we can easily find all the popular apps in a cracked or pirated form to use. As per their latest report on “State security in the app economy for 2013”, the most popular “top 100 paid Android applications have been successfully hacked or pirated”.
Here, we would like to use word cracked instead of hacking as Arxan hasn’t mention the motto behind all the hacks. Hence, we can say in other words that all the pirated apps are free versions of paid apps. Furthermore, Arxan hasn’t defined its method for selecting the top 100 paid apps but still we can get the idea about it by analyzing Play Store’s top paid applications section. As per the latest report, the experts on the subject have identified as well as reviewed cracked or hacked apps especially from locations rather than Play Store. Hence, it perhaps includes few pirated versions of the apps that used to be uploaded in a non-altered form especially for prohibited side-loading. However, in typical sense, those apps aren’t hacked but still cause damaging to their real owners. In short, the current report discloses that about 56% of the iOS’s top 100 paid apps have also been cracked or hacked. Therefore, we have noticed that installing non-vetted applications on Android is relatively easy as compare to iOS.
The mobile security company also explains that around 73% of very famous free applications have also been cracked or hacked. Here again the company hasn’t mention the methodology thus we are not supposed to use hack word. Therefore, when we observe the situation in economic point of view, we find that the apps that have been transformed illegally to run to open up important content cause big damages. The illegally changed versions of famous streaming music applications are easily available for users who don’t want to pay for the apps. It is often noticed that the users who go outside the legal Play Store to have a free app like APK file, usually download a malicious app that simply theft their personal information. It is a known fact that Google has been taking legal steps to prevent this illegal activity to protect original apps. Moreover, about 13% of apps are installed from outside sources, even having triggered a warning from Google’s Verify applications function.
Remember, Arxan’s reports can be a bit doubtful as security organizations are notorious for overstating risk to prove their services significant. However, presentation and method of the data is, in some extent, displaying horrible sign to users. The reason behind that is if users download a paid app free of cost from an unknown or unauthorized source then they have to face risk of losing their important personal information that can be used to harm them. This report is also an alarm for the app developers to focus more towards security feature of an app. Hence, app developers need to create such apps that should be well protected against reverse engineering, tampering and hacking.