New iPhone App DRM Claims to Thwart Pirates

Piracy of iPhone applications has become quite a hot topic recently, particularly since 'one-click' cracking apps such as Crackulous have become available to the public. The Kali Anti-Piracy system from Ripdev believes it has the answer, putting pirates on notice that the easy ride to free software is over.

kaliLast week the one-click iPhone software cracking application Crackulous became officially available to the public. The software would give anyone the ability to remove the copy protection from software purchased from the Apple App Store, enabling people to share them with others.

There were mixed opinions on the news. Some thought that it was great that there was an increased potential for a flood of cracked iPhone software, but a significant number of people expressed concerns that software developers would shy away from the format if they couldn’t guarantee a revenue stream.

Of course, the piracy/anti-piracy cat-and-mouse game was inevitable and today a new DRM system has been launched by Ripdev, promising to thwart those pesky iPhone pirates.

iPhone developer Ripdev says that its new ‘Kali Anti-Piracy’ system has been in development for some months now and today sees its official ‘beta’ launch. Ripdev acknowledges it has become trivial now for anyone to become a “cool hax0r” by cracking iPhone app DRM and distributing the results worldwide, but believes that with Kali, it has the answer.

According to Ripdev, the Kali system is a server-side service which can take any App Store application and place it inside another protection wrapper which, Ripdev claim, will prevent it from being pirated. Claimed to be fully compliant with the Apple iPhone SDK, Ripdev says that Kali-protected apps meet Apple’s approval process. The company adds that it has been protecting its own software (such as Kate, i2Reader Pro, iPref and Installer) with it for months and no-one has yet cracked any of them.

There is a one-off charge for developers to start using the system. If they sell their app for $9.99 or less it’s $100. Over $9.99 and it goes up to $300. Ripdev are also taking additional ‘royalties’ for each copy protected with Kali (in order to “keep the hackers on their toes”) of between 1% and 5% of the developer’s 70% cut.

Ripdev also has a message for would-be pirates;

“Expect more and more apps to be much, much harder to crack in the near future. ;)”

The trouble is that sounds awfully like a challenge. I’d put money on that being taken up. Quickly.

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