Industry News

iOS Application Points Legit Users as Pirates on Twitter

Cracked applications that refuse to work when installed on devices are sooo last year, a recent incident involving iPhones, iPads and the famous Oxford Dictionary of English reveals. If, up until now, pirate users would only worry about ending up with a non-working application, they should now be concerned with being publicly pointed at as thieves.

According to author Jenn Frank, due to a flaw in the digital rights management system in the electronic version of the $27 Oxford Dictionary of English, some users have found the application posting comments like “How about we all stop using pirated iOS apps? I promise to stop. I really will” on behalf of the device user. The application also pushes a nag window on the device’s screen that says “I am a software thief”.

“Um. This is weird. My cell phone is accusing me of stealing the Oxford Dictionary of English,” wrote the wrongfully-accused user. “That was a really expensive piece of software.”

The application’s developer, Enfour, has issued an emergency fix to mitigate the issue earlier this month, but hundreds of tweets with the #softwarepirateconfession hash tag are still posted on the user’s Twitter accounts. The worst part is that the application requires mandatory access to the user’s Twitter account upon installation just to be able to post this message.

It appears that public humiliation for pirate customers is slowly becoming the next best thing since the invention of the serial number. In April 2011, an Android application called Walk and Text sent an SMS message to all the pirate user’s contacts telling them that the respective user was cheap: “Hey, just downlaoded [sic] a pirated app off the internet, Walk and Text for Android. Im stupid and cheap, it costed [sic] only 1 buck. Don’t ‘borrow’ like I did,” read the SMS.

About the author


Bogdan Botezatu is living his second childhood at Bitdefender as senior e-threat analyst. When he is not documenting sophisticated strains of malware or writing removal tools, he teaches extreme sports such as surfing the web without protection or rodeo with wild Trojan horses. He believes that most things in life can be beat with strong heuristics and that antimalware research is like working for a secret agency: you need to stay focused at all times, but you get all the glory when you catch the bad guys.