Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Beware of how vulnerable your Android Games (.apk files) are!

Ok. This is not a threat, nor a nonsense.

Here, I would like to emphasize on the vulnerability of the Android Games (.apk files), in order to raise the awareness of all the games developers.

Plagiarism takes place everywhere, from websites contents to the games elements, across any industry and brand. But when it comes to the Android Games, it is really sad to reveal that recently there has been cases such as the hard work pieces "Chase Burger" from Elventales Studio had been copied and published on iOS and Android Play Store under the name of Hungry Chase. When i said "copied", i mean it isn't just about the game logo or the genre, but about the duplication of the ENTIRE GAME, from images, buttons location to the character appearance. By changing only "Game Title" and editing a little bit on the color, those jerks simply claim the games as theirs.

What is even more discouraging is that, it happens not only on the famous games (which are from the well known studios). Even the indie games are not spared of. And that definitely poses a question: How on earth are those scumbags be able to reverse engineer the Android games, such that the entire games could be manipulated and re-published so easily? Why the apk files are so vulnerable?

You may argue that this scenario is inevitable, and it actually pesters the iOS game developers as well. But the thing is, as the developers who hope to earn some income for a living through the Android Games development, we are really disturbed by the hacking and stealing prone games ecosystem. And in fact, with the Google search engine (alright, is stackoverflow, etc), you can 'conveniently' get the ideas of how to intelligently reverse engineer de-compiling any Android apk file. I know that they are not to blame. But I wish the play store (such as Google Play Store) would be more vigilant and efficient when handling the apk theft.

Wish to know some demo on how an Android apk file is stolen? I won't show the whole ugly picture, but here's an example:
a) Randomly grab and download an apk file from here.
b) Rename the apk file with a ".zip" at the back
c) Extract / unzip the file

Here you go, i only partially demo how to steal the assets (pictures) of an Android apk file. It could be performed so so easily.

So what to do to enhance the security? No idea. But as observant games developers, the only thing that we can do, is to always keep an eye on the play store, filing reports whenever necessary and pray that those games thieves would be busted without affecting the reputation of your games brand.

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