Hackers gonna hack

Two weeks ago, I was interested how many google hits my app name + developer name would have. I was surprised to see a few hundred hits, though most of these were version control logs where r6174 (my dev name back then) would denote a revision name. I have changed my dev name to random6174 in the mean time. Anyway, among those precious real hits, there was a Chinese one that caught my attention. I had heard before that there are Chinese app stores hosting stolen or hacked apps, but I could not believe that an app as little distributed as mine could be victim of such.

However, not only does that website host a copy of my App without my knowledge, it also appears to be a trojan horse. Here’s how I came to that conclusion:

Some attributes of the listed app entry match mine perfectly, others must have been altered, semi- or even fully-automatically. The developer name, screenshots, app icon and parts of the description text match. The app name, apk file size, and the rest of the description do not. Downloading the apk and examining it also revealed that the hacked version contains some additional resources (some pandas as images, some Chinese symbols on top of buttons). Most interestingly, however, the hacked version requires a number of permissions, including internet connection and a permission that allows to load new packages. To me, this sounds much like a trojan horse.

I will provide more details in future posts. For now, I am planning to activate ProGuard in all future releases of Orbs.

Launching ‘Orbs’

Again with latency, this shall be the official announcement of my second Android App, ‘Orbs’. Orbs is an incarnation of the popular Bejeweled game concept, also known as Jewels or Bubbles. There must be even more games like this one than there are TicTacToe-like games, but who cares.

To add some excitement to the game, I chose to go with appealing graphics (screenshots to come) and some power-ups. Power ups include, as of now, a Bomb (will destroy orbs in a 3×3 square area), a Joker and a Color Remover (Re-colors Orbs of one kind). More power-ups are planned, of course.

Other features of Orbs include:

  • A local Highscores list
  • Automatic + manual savegames
  • Some nice sprite animations
  • A clean UI

Check it out: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=app.orbs

Launching ‘Tic Tac Toast’

With a minor latency of 2 months, this is the announcement of the launch of my first Android App, ‘Tic Tac Toast’. Tic Tac Toast is a simple version of the classic Tic Tac Toe game, featuring a Toast and a Cookie as player icons.

It is meant to be an experiment. On Google Play, I have seen many Apps with only a few features, poor graphics and awful description texts that have reached 1000+ downloads and more over time. I want to investigate if an App as simple as mine can achieve this as well.

In the 2 months the App was up, I noticed that downloads numbers did not skyrocket quite as expected. I started off with 10 days without a single download and have only reached 11 by now. I saw a minor improvement when i added an advertising graphic and an advertising text. However, I do not intend to promote this App any further (apart from writing about it right now).

We’ll see if it will go viral…

Check it out: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=app.tictactoast

Just Another Android Blog

The last time i counted, there were 6173 Android blogs out there. This one shall be number 6174. Why do I blog? I don’t, actually. When uploading a new Android App to the Google Play Store, it says you need to link to a data privacy statement. So this is where they will go: My Data privacy statements. Wait for some sooper-awesome posts in that direction! Oh man… data privacy statements… cant wait to see them.