Windows has this strange allure to it’s products which attracts hackers from all around the world. The latest victim to this myth is the Windows App Store where you can get featured and dull-length apps for free, without paying a cent. Interestingly enough, it has not taken the acumen or the deductive skills of Sherlock Holmes to figure this puzzle out; a Nokia engineer, Justin Angel, exposed how vulnerable the apps on the Windows Store actually were.
Angel explained that the Windows Store allows the data of the app to be saved locally on the device running the Windows instead of storing it on a remote server (which would actually be a more secure option). This method leaves a chance for the hackers to crack and modify the app data as they want.
The hackers recently targeted exactly this weakness and developed an open source crack that exploited in-app purchase mechanics which relied on local Windows system files and thus unlocked the full version of many trial apps.
The crack, known as Wsservice_crk was released on October 30, 2012 on the My Digital Life forum and allows users to crack Windows Store apps, side load unsigned apps so that they can be loaded on Windows 8 and to load the means to create app packages that can be further redistributed.
Like all other cracking softwares, this Wsservice_crk crack leaves the users at the mercy of the hackers and even if a hacker doesn’t take any further action with the data collected through this crack, the device running the OS becomes unstable and unreliable.
Strangely enough, Windows Store is not the only one who’s suffered from this kind of attack. Other app markets have faced similar issues in the past, like Apple’s Mac App Store and it’s complementary iOS. When Apple encountered these problems it instructed it’s developers to follow the company’s developer guidelines in order to even things out.
Microsoft has taken a similar stand and has advised developers to use digital receipt verification and to move all vulnerable files to remote servers, in order to prevent alteration of important app files by any third-party software.
Given the fact that more than 90% of the apps on the Windows Store are free, we wonder what the point of this whole cracking thing really is!