Windows Phone 8.1 reportedly closes ‘Fiddler loophole’ for installed OEM exclusive apps

This is one of those Windows Phone 8.1 changes that will only affect like 0.1% of you, though it’s still interesting if you’re into security and what may be best described as piracy.

Last summer, we ran a controversial story about how to install OEM exclusive apps to your Windows Phone. Those apps are always ‘free’ though they are in theory subsidized by your purchase of that OEM’s phone. There was a method used where you can spoof your Nokia Lumia to look like a Samsung one, or vice versa.

Windows Phone 8.1 has apparently been patched, making the OS slightly more secure against such behavior. Reader of the site NFC Flaap wrote us in, detailing is experience:

 “One of the unnoticed changes in Windows Phone 8.1 is that the Fiddler route to install exclusive apps has been closed. Of course, this may also be because of the changes in the Windows Phone store itself. One of the apps I had installed on my phone worked fine until the 8.1 update. The app was there but simply refused to start. So I uninstalled it and then tried to reinstall again using the Fiddler route. This too failed. So I guess Microsoft fixed this loophole silently.”

We haven't verified this ourselves if this is accurate, mostly because lack of intent, but it seems highly probable.

It’s certainly interesting, and we’re surprised it took this long. But then again, the number of people doing this type of thing was always very small. For one, not all apps were able to be installed, mostly due to specific firmware requirements not on all phones, making this less exciting than initially thought. The second, Windows Phone and piracy while it does exist, is a very tiny segment of the user community. So far, custom ROMs, hacking of the registry, and installing pirated apps is more of a technical hobby than a big-time problem.

Regardless, it’s interesting to see this method evidently disappear. It’s not clear if it’s because Microsoft actively patched it, or it is just changes to the Store.

Thanks, NFC Flapp, for the update

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.