Friday, April 19, 2013

'No jailbreaking required' iOS app piracy offered via Chinese website

Chinese hackers are using Apple's own technology against the Cupertino, Calif.-based company. They have created a website,, that gives users access to free, pirated iOS apps. M.I.C. Gadget, which has access to the site as they are in Hong Kong, reported on the site on Thursday.

Pirated apps were already prevalent on stores for jailbroken iPhones., which cannot be accessed outside of China without use of a proxy server, doesn't require jailbreaking. Instead, it uses Apple's own enterprise app deployment technology. That technology allows companies to deploy an app internally, without use of the App Store.

The site is being run by a company called Kuaiyong. Last year, Kuaiyong released an iTunes alternative that pirates iOS apps and also helps sync them to your iPhone or iPad.

Those outside of China will either see an error message or be redirected to the KuaiYong homepage.

With an enterprise distribution certificate and provisioning profile, an app can "be installed on an unlimited number of iOS devices." However, the certificate expires after three years.

Kuaiyong's explanation of its website and iTunes-alternative is simple: It's a public service the company provides due to the the apparent difficulty of using Apple’s iTunes:
Statistics have shown that a significant amount of Apple users are Chinese based. However, the fact is that in China, a large number of Apple users are not very familiar with the iTunes system and how to effectively manage it.

In order for Chinese Apple fans to download applications securely, Kuaiyong developed its own method of giving users access to thousands of free apps without having to jailbreak their devices. Kuaiyong offers detailed descriptions of apps, free app download trial, IOS device management and visual and audio file backup system. IOS system backup and recovery features will also be released in the very near future.

Our goal has always been about bringing Chinese Apple users with quick, convenient and pleasant IOS experience. Since the introduce of Kuaiyong, the proportion of jailbreak in China has declined dramatically from 60% to around 30%. Kuaiyong will hold on to this goal in the future and we would like to see more support for Apple as well as Kuaiyong.
One would think that Apple would revoke the enterprise distribution certificate belonging to Kuaiyong, particularly now that the company has hit the radar with all the publicity it is now receiving. Whatever steps Apple takes, though, it has to be careful, as its somewhat tenuous relationship with China wouldn't be helped if whatever it did bricked or otherwise screw with the five million Chinese iPhones that are currently using the site to find and install apps.

KuaiYong is also planning to release its iTunes alternative app internationally, but reportedly, the English version of that application is still not ready.

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