26 Aug, 2010
Google announced not too long ago the introduction of a new copy protection service for applications submitted to the Android Market, saying that it is one step taken towards improving the protection of software solutions, but it seems that the solution was already cracked.
Soon after the news spread, Google came out with a response to it, stating that it still believes its new solution is better than the previous plain copy-protection facility, though it stresses on the fact that the system is still young.
“The licensing service provides infrastructure that developers can use to write custom authentication checks for each of their applications. The first release shipped with the simplest, most transparent imaginable sample implementation, which was written to be easy to understand and modify, rather than security-focused,” a post on the Android Developers notes.
According to it, there are some developers using the sample as-is, which makes their applications vulnerable, but most of the attacks recording until now were on “applications that have neglected to obfuscate their code,” though developers should have acted differently.
The fact that this system is better than the previous one is underlined by the one who breached it too, who published a how-to- pirate article here: “For now, Google’s Licensing Service is still, in my opinion, the best option for copy protection.”
Even so, the solution does not guarantee 100% piracy protection, especially with a system that runs third-party code, Google notes, adding that the licensing server was designed to increase the cost and difficulty of pirating.
“The best attack on pirates is to make their work more difficult and expensive, while simultaneously making the legal path to products straightforward, easy, and fast,” the aforementioned blog post continues.
According to Google, the Android Market remains a responsive, low-friction, safe way for application developers to have their solutions distributed to Android phone users out there, especially since its protection should be improved in the future.