Pwning a Giant–How Chainfire Hacked Windows Marketplace
Yesterday was a sad day we all knew would eventually come—the Windows Marketplace for Windows Mobile applications finally ceased to exist, as Microsoft officially killed Windows Mobile and mostly everything related to it sometime last year. The market brought the capability to do what Apple’s Appstore was doing at the time, which was to try and centralize all the available free and paid applications so that people could easily find their favorite apps in one, single place. The introduction of the marketplace didn’t come without its share of issues and scandals due to various flaws in functionality. For instance, Windows Marketplace was restricted geographically. More specifically, you couldn’t use it in certain parts of the world because your device would simply not be allowed access to the servers. Please note that this practice still takes place today with services such as the Amazon Marketplace, Hulu Plus, and several other popular services.
Of all the gripes that people had with Microsoft about protection, the copy protection patch that Microsoft released sometime in 2009 was by far the most annoying. Essentially, it forced developers to submit the applications in such a way that they could not license it under their own models. Instead they had to be licensed by Microsoft under a single model. The patch forbade people from protecting their apps, and because of that, they could be bypassed and even have the code stolen and copied. XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire cracked this new “protection” measure from Microsoft within two hours of it being released. The license check was easily bypassed, and he created a hack to go around it, disabling the license check code added by MS to all the apps in the MP. Due to his own morals, Chainfire decided not to release this hack for a very simple reason… it could be used for piracy.
Today, since MP is already dead, he has decided to go in full detail regarding how me managed to crack Microsoft’s protection model in less time than it takes to prepare a good meal. Oh, and he did it in Pascal (yes, yes… roll in agony). He also went ahead and released the source code via github, which can be found in the link below. If you are interested in some history and overall hacking insight, please be sure to visit his blog (linked below).
Now that Marketplace for 6.x has been closed, I thought it time to release some WM hacking/patching details and some source for this claim of cracking the Marketplace.
You can find more information in the original thread as well as Chainfire‘s blog. And if you still want more Chainfire after all that, be sure to check out his interview. Thank you Chainfire for all your hard work.
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[Thanks Chainfire for the tip!]