MS Marketplace: Software Protection Cracked Already

...and the Marketplace news just keeps on rolling today. Quite a bit considering the darn thing hasn't officially launched yet!

Looks like XDA member Chainfire has already "cracked" the security protection of distribution of paid-for-apps in the Marketplace.

Long story short, when you "buy" a program, you download the .cab file, which automatically installs to main memory.  After the installation, the (registered) .cab file gets deleted from your system immediately.

Chainfire has figured a way to circumvent this system, thereby saving the .cab file. One can then simply and illegally re-distribute this file to friends, warez groups etc.  Ouch.

Now the good news is Chainfire did not release how he did this (and has no plans to), but considering it took him only "five minutes", it doesn't bode well for long term security. The question is, how else could this have been done while not breaking the OS and keeping things uniform? Could they not pre-register the .cab files with your user ID, like Kinoma offers?

[XDA via Fuzemobility]

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • i love the Palm T|X image accompanying the article. My greatest and last Palm PDA, it was...
  • What is present right now is really more of a small obstacle than actual protection. The real copy protection comes later this year.
  • its actually really easy to get the cab.
  • Still not understanding why anyone would chose to buy an app from Marketplace just to deal with an extra layer of DRM that prevents memory card installation. Where's the added value? Even though I run most of my apps in main memory, I always keep copies of their cabs on my card for backup. Marketplace is a solution in search of a problem. The thinking is that since Apple's App Store was successful, other platforms should adopt the same distribution model. What they forget is that with the iPhone, there has never been another approved way to get apps. With Marketplace, the vast majority of apps, at least 80%, will always be sold or distributed freely elsewhere, from Mobihand to attachments on forum posts.
  • Once again MS ships something that's feature incomplete for Windows Mobile and makes the developers pay for their rush. Now any developer that wants to prevent copying of their app will need to add their own DRM, own update mechinism, and can't deliver large applications. Lovely.