A Chinese website called 7659 is bypassing Apple’s App Store and allowing its users to install pirated apps for free, without the need for jailbreaking. How are they doing this? It’s actually kind of clever.
The website is using Apple’s bulk enterprise licensing to copy and distribute pirated paid apps for free, and the developer profile that is used in bulk enterprise licensing allows these apps to be installed with no jailbreak necessary.
The site is also only available within China, and company that runs the service, Kuaiyong, has a very interesting justification for providing pirated apps — Chinese users have difficulties navigating and using the iTunes Store, and their service allows Chinese Apple fans to “download applications securely,” with a “free app download trial.” Check out Kuaiyong’s full announcement posted on their website below:
“First of all, we would like to thank all Apple users around the world and your support for Kuaiyong.
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.”
Sounds like a win-win for pirates, right? Not quite. MIC Gadget warns that malware could become a problem with apps distributed by this site: “Specialized malware could be developed for certain popular apps that collected information and logged activity on to the device. The Android eco-systems in China are working in this way.”
There’s also the tiny little issue that when Apple’s lawyers hear about this, they’re probably not going to be very happy about it. Both VentureBeat and The Verge have reached out to Apple for comment, but so far there’s been no response. The latter also notes that due to all the apps being provisioned with the same developer profile, it shouldn’t be too hard for Apple to cut them off. But problem with that solution is that it doesn’t stop the company from just using another profile to distribute their apps again, making legal action a possibility in this case.
And, no, just because we are posting this does not mean dotTech encourages piracy.