An earlier Microsoft employer who is now an engineer at Nokia named Justin Angel has recently drawn attention towards the problem of hacking and piracy in windows 8 applications on windows store. He says that there were some illegal changes made to the application like trial applications changed to full version applications, the in-app purchase prices changed and the integrated ads removed.
In order to compete with the other operating systems of the time, these applications are very beneficial. There are tons of apps available on windows store that are constantly being updated and users can see the ratings of the apps so it becomes very easy to access them.
Justin Angel’s focus was the game applications that are the best example of the issues he mentioned. For instance, there is one game application named ‘Ultraviolet Dawn’ that features game cash that a player can use to buy advance equipment for the spaceship. They are available in different amounts and stored in data files. The pirated version of these apps contains changed and lower price of the currency. It uses XML to store the modified data. Another example of the violation is the game Minesweeper from which the game ads were removed. The changes can be made easily using Notepad. This similar attack can also be made to the windows store apps.
There is another game called ‘Soulcrafts’ that is similar to the ‘Ultraviolet Dawn’ and it features the in game currency with the difference that player uses real money to buy things. The currency settings were also modified in way that player could purchase them free. The game also features the player profile that can also be change. Due to all these attacks, the application developer has to face the loss.
DRM is developed to save and protect the applications from being hacked. All the coding and algorithm is available in the windows. That is why it is not very difficult to decode it and make changes to it. Another way to overcome this problem is not to provide the necessary information to the windows but this only result in difficulty for the developer. Justin angel highlighted one solution to the problem that games should either be available free or come with paid versions which requires payment to be made once. That means the in app purchases should be avoided.
These are very serious problems and it is difficult to stop them. Microsoft can take some actions on its end to minimize these attacks. To avoid these issues, Microsoft should sign the applications in windows store.