So this is pretty interesting. A MobileRead forum poster is claiming that Apple’s “FairPlay” iBooks DRM has finally been cracked. The Digital Rights Management has previously kept users from reading purchased iBooks content on non-iOS devices.
This means that, with the appropriate software, users will now be able to essentially “unlock” their iBooks to make them compatible with other devices that recognize the ePub eBook format…
This week Apple will release the iOS version 4.1 for the iPhone. If our calculations are correct the newest version of the mobile operating system will be hitting iTunes on Wednesday, September 8th.
The last couple of updates from Apple haven’t been anything to write home about. Version 4.0.1 simply addressed the algorithm while the antenna issue was flooding the news wire. After that, version 4.0.2 basically just patched up a security issue that Apple left exposed. As far as actual tangible features both refreshes were pretty dull at best…
Yesterday the news fell that Apple was finally allowing free iPhone apps to include in-app purchases. Until then, developers who wanted to offer a free trial of their applications had to create 2 versions: a full-featured paid version, and a “lite” stripped-down version with very basic features.
The news was very well welcome, especially by developers who see in this new system a chance to reduce application piracy. Two articles got my attention yesterday as they were insinuating that in-app purchase for free apps was the end of piracy.
Here’s the trick: while you can crack an iPhone application and throw it up for all to download in a matter of seconds, you can’t fake an In-App purchase receipt. A pretty notable chunk of the In-App purchase process is actually handled on the developer’s server, in addition to Apple’s – so unlike the initial purchase (which devs actually get to know very, very little about), developers know pretty damn well exactly which iPhones should be running which In-App Purchase. Developers have a specific receipt for each in-app purchase, which resides on their server. Faking this would be like tricking Amazon into shipping you a TV that you didn’t pay for.
“Will this help in anti-piracy measures?” Definitely. StoreKit allows developers to validate receipts, ensuring that unlock codes are only sent to paying customers. Add a hash-check algorithm for the current device and developers have better control over who gets to use their applications.
I am not much of a technical person (“StoreKit” and “hash-check algorithm” sound like Chinese to me) but I really doubt that in-app purchase is the end of piracy. If anything, it’s going to start a new era of iPhone app piracy.
To crack an application, you first have to download it. So let’s say I’m a cracker, I download the app, I pay for the in-app purchase that “unlocks” the full-featured app. Now that I have everything, I just need to crack the application and make it available to the general public.
Nothing changes. Maybe the way I crack the application changes. Maybe I have to bypass a few new protections like the StoreKit thing, but in the end, if I have the full application to work on, there will always be a way to trick the app into thinking it is legit.
So to me, in-app purchase will not kill iPhone apps piracy. At best, it will slow it down and instead of getting the cracked version of XYZgame in 2 hours after the release, I’ll get it in 3 hours. At the end of the day, you still get your cracked app.
As I said above, I’m not technical at all and I might be missing something here. I’m interested in hearing what you have to say about it. Do you think in-app purchase will put an end to iPhone app piracy? Why? How? Leave a comment to share your views.
I’m not sure what my position about cracked iPhone apps is. I don’t endorse any type of piracy. Developers spend time working on applications and they do deserve to get paid for it. On the other side, you have kids that may or may not have much money and who don’t want to spend $0.99 on an application.
I think that a kid who downloads a pirated app would most likely NOT have paid for this app if the cracked version wasn’t available for free somewhere. This means that either way, the developer would not have earned money from this kid anyway. At least, the developer gets the name of his app out.
What I just described is what we may call “common piracy”. That’s the type or piracy we’ve known since the democratization of MP3 music files. Now there is another kind of piracy that I think is scandalous and should be highly punished by law… I’m talking about website that resell cracked iPhone apps.
I was browsing several iPhone blogs over the weekend when I came across a website called Mega. The website prides itself in being able to deliver 34,060 iPhone apps worth a total of $108,746 for free. Mega is an application that you can download through Cydia. Once installed, you will get a new icon on your springboard that looks like the App Store icon, with “Free” written all across.
A very small security enhancement has been made for iPhone and iPod Touch applications by Ben Chatelain, developer of the Full Screen Web Browser app who was tired to see his app pirated and available for free everywhere online.
The solution that I came up with is for the app to simply detect whether it has been compromised and to send that data over the wire to our server. All of these simple server pings are logged along with the unique device identifier (UDID) so that illegal usage can be tracked. Then, the server controls a demo period; after 10 runs a message is presented which gives the choice of visiting the Full Screen Web Browser page in the App Store or exiting the app.
Very ingenuous but is this really gonna stop crackers? I doubt it but it is already a first step towards anti-piracy, which I see as a big improvement.
[digg-me]Below are instructions on how to unlock your iPhone 3G using Yellow Sn0w. Unlocking your iPhone 3G will make it possible for you to use any cellphone carrier.
Before you go any further, make sure to READ EVERY SINGLE WORD OF THIS TUTORIAL. If you think you’re too cool for school, then go directly to the instructions but please, do not complain if you mess up your iPhone during the process, which is very unlikely to happen anyways…
First things first. In order to be able for you to use Yellow Sn0w to unlock your iPhone 3G, you have to be on a jailbroken iPhone that runs the latest firmware 2.2 with the latest baseband 02.28.00. To find out what firmware you’re on, go to Settings > General > About and look for “Modem Firmware”. It should say 02.28.00.
If you have not jailbroken your iPhone yet, you have to now in order to unlock. To jailbreak your iPhone, follow the QuickPwn 2.2 guide that I wrote a few weeks ago.
If you have already jailbroken your iPhone using PwnageTool to preserve your baseband, sorry but you have to restore and rejailbreak again in order to have the latest 02.28.00 baseband.
If you have updated to the latest firmware 2.2 with its latest 02.28.00 baseband, then you’re good to go.
So from now on, I assume that you are on a clean firmware 2.2 with firmware 02.28.00 and that your iPhone is jailbroken.
1. Go to Cydia and install this new source: http://apt9.yellowsn0w.com/ (note that snow is spelled with a zero, not an “o”). To install a new source in Cydia, go to Manage > Sources > Edit > Add, then type in the source http://apt9.yellowsn0w.com/ and tap “Add Source”.
2. Once the source has been added, tap “Return To Cydia”, then tap “Done”.
3. Now tap “apt9.yellowsn0w.com from the list of sources “Entered By Users”.
4. Select Yellow Sn0w, then tap install nad confirm.
5. Once the installation had been successfully completed, return to Cydia.
6. Hard reset your iPhone. To do this, hold the home and power buttons simultaneously for a few seconds until the phone shuts off by itself (ignore the “slide to power off” message)
7. Insert whatever SIM card you want! Wait a few seconds and you should be good.
See, that wasn’t too hard at all. Users that are already familiar with Cydia and sources shouldn’t have any problem at all. But first time jailbreakers might be a little lost, which is why I detailed this tutorial a lot.
Now there are a few known issues with Yellow Sn0w and I highly recommend you either read my previous post about it, or go directly to the Dev Team’s blog.
1) If you are on tmobile USA you should disable 3G in Settings or sbsettings.
2) YellowSn0w does not work with a SIM PIN. You must disable your SIM card pin lock.
At any rate, I would really appreciate it if you could digg this post, then write a comment, then go to the Dev Team’s blog to thank them for their great work.
This piece of news might mean something for iPhone geeks out there,but I guess the average iPhone owner couldn’t care less… Dev Team member PlanetBeing found a way to port Linux 2.6 kernel to the iPhone.
This is a rough first draft of the port, and many drivers are still missing, but it’s enough that a real alternative operating system is running on the iPhone.
Crackulous is a software that allows you to easily crack any iPhone application, without having to pay a dime to the developer or to Apple. No need to say that this is illegal… In what seems to be a very ironic story, a beta version of Crackulous was pirated and leaked on the Internet before it could enter a full open-source distribution.
Erica Sadun wrote a good article about it over at Ars:
SaladFork, the author of Crackulous, called the leak “absolutely disgusting, and downright insulting.” He writes about his pride of development, saying, “[I] have released a new version of Crackulous almost every day or two, fixing all the bugs that had been reported up until that day. I was proud of Crackulous, and put a large majority of my free time into ensuring it will be the best application it possibly could be. I responded to beta tester feedback, and each version of Crackulous was better than the last.”
Did SaladFork learn his lesson? Obviously not as he wrote:
Several of you had noticed the irony in me complaining that a tool used to steal from other developers was stolen, but I hope you realize the difference in situation. iPhone developers almost always (99% of the time) develop applications for the App Store in hopes of getting money.
Firmware update 2.2 surprised a few people who accidentally updated their iPhone. If that happened to you, you now have 2 choices: either stay and 2.2 and wait for the Dev Team to come up with a jailbreak method for 2.2, or you can try to downgrade from 2.2 to 2.1.
I personally don’t have this issue. I haven’t updated to 2.2 but I figured that some of you guys may have, so I started looking for a solution to post here. The problem is there doesn’t seem to be a solution that works for one main reason: 2.2 updates your baseband and once your baseband is updated, you can’t downgrade it to 2.1 (not as yet anyway).
From what I read, only 2-3 people were actually able to get their iPhone back to 2.1 without issues but it is very unclear what they did exactly… Now let’s have a look at these different methods that supposedly show you how to downgrade from iPhone firmware 2.2 to 2.1.
It took a while to Apple’s lawyers to find out and do something about TheMonkeysBall.com but they finally did it. They finally got this site shut down for uber massive copyright infringement.
For those of you who don’t know, TheMonkeysBall.com was the reference in matter of cracked iPhone apps. The website offered a gigantic library of cracked ipa files, making it the preferred destination for anyone who didn’t want to spend a dime on iPhone apps.
Wyze, the owner, explains:
Well, Apple, it took you long enough to find us. We’re sure Mr. Haklab will take credit for this and all we have to say to that is that it took you long enough. We had a good run and honestly we are surprised we lasted this long. We don’t want to move servers again to another country to avoid DMCA as we’ve lost interest since the site first launched.
The site is now up for sale. I doubt you can do anything with such a URL but who knows…
[digg-me]After playing with my kids iTouch’s it became clear to me how much the iTouch is lacking in functionality. Before buying one I considered it just an iPhone without the ability to make calls. The lack of camera was the biggest surprise, because I can’t figure out why they left it out. The GPS and Camera would have been really nice to have even if I can’t use it as a phone.
So would it still be better to buy an iPhone and use it just like an iTouch but with camera and GPS? I found a thread on one of the iPhone forums where a guy, who was going to college and couldn’t afford the $30.00 a month data plan, but wanted an iPhone anyway. He was on campus where they had a robust wifi connection all of the time and didn’t really need the data plan. He already had an AT&T cell phone (a Razor), and just wanted to get a used iPhone and put his SIM card into it.
After giving the guy a hard time, a good samaritan responded with a way to do just that. He pointed out a cool service offered by unlockit. It is an APN Changer for 3G iPhones. It lets you turn off the Edge and 3G data service on your iPhone. This lets you use an AT&T SIM card with your iPhone but lets you use it without adding the iPhone data plan.
To use this service do the following:
Put the AT&T Sim card in the already activated iPhone.
Make a wifi connection to a local wifi source.
Navigate to this page. Click “Continue To The Next Page”.
Click Disable Data (Fake APN). The Install Profile window appears.
Click Install. Another Install Profile window will popup warning you that authenticity of this profile cannot be verified. Click Install on this window too.
You should now see a message stating “Could not activate Cellular Data Network; You are not subscribed to a cellular data service.
You should now be able to make phone calls and be able to use wifi to access the internet. When you aren’t connected, you should get an error.
To remove the 3G/Edge block, simply go to your Network settings and removed the Fake APN profile.
The new Installer 4.0b8 is out in the wild! The RIP Dev Team had been working for a while but it’s now here and available for your iPhone or iPod Touch. To update, simply open Installer and it will automatically prompt you to update. How convenient!
This Installer 4.0b8 is about new features and a few bug fixes. Most importantly, the RIP Dev people are sying that they are going to release Installer 4 soon. Can’t wait for it but I can’t help wondering what will happen to Cydia? Who of the 2 will survive?
From the RIP Dev Team:
Installer 4.0b8 is out (it’s been ready for a while and even included in the last PwnageTool but we were holding off to releasing it publically). Among notable features is the switch to libcurl from the stock Foundation URL loading classes, which means more lightweight CPU and memory footprint and, more importantly, resumable file transfers. The new beta also features a plethora of little fixes which we won’t extensively list here. Enjoy. We’ll be pushing out a 4.0 release soonish…
The featured page you see when you launch Installer is actually automatically generated based on the popularity of the packages (based on the number of installations across the board), so it’s nothing like the “old” featured page that listed a set of pre-defined products. It will eventually have some “sponsored” products, but they will be easily distinguishable visually and we’ll try to keep the amount of these to the minimum – no more than 3.
Community Sources are updated as well to reflect the change in the modmyi.com domain name and to remove some outdated sources that shown promise but actually never delivered anything.
Kate update been out for a while, and we’re finally at adding new features to it – so look for a non-bugfix release in the near future.