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Android Developer Sounds Off On Open Android App Piracy

When we speak about an open market there are lots of benefits to it but if the market is so open that anyone can upload anything, from viruses to pirated software, you probably went too far. The Guardian spoke to Android developer’s about the ease of pirating Android applications and then uploading them to the Android Market as though they’re legitimate apps. So not only do you steal an app but you then resubmit it and actually profit from it. This is pretty blatant and yet it’s also pretty prevalent as those 50 malware apps were exactly these types of apps.

Here’s what Android developer Kevin Baker had to say:

One of my customers emailed me three weeks ago, and informed me that another company was selling a version of my app – pirated and uploaded as their own. Of course I contacted Google right away. It took Google two days to take the app down. This publisher was also selling other versions of pirated games. I contacted the original developers of those games but they were still being sold a week later. You’d think [Google] might have a hotline for things like that!

"I would also note that the publisher selling the pirated games is still trading on the Android Market. They didn’t even get their account suspended. If there’s going to be malware hidden inside apps, isn’t that the exact place where it would be? Why are these accounts still allowed to be trading? It’s negligent as far as I’m concerned.

To add insult to injury, on some of the re-uploaded apps the fake app would say that it was developed by the actual developer.

Developers on all platforms have relied on apps that obfuscates their cade to make it harder to have their code stolen. Baker used a tool called Progaurd and it obviously did not work. In fact, it’s so laughably easy to do this that when Google released a tool to remove the malware from those 50 apps last month, that app was repackaged to include malware.

Anyone else think that Google needs to tighten the leash on this before it really gets out of hand?