The situation involving Facebook and Google’s enterprise certificates a couple of weeks ago continues to rumble on, with Apple apparently now taking a deeper look at what others are using those same certificates for. There’s something of a cull underway, and Apple has started to revoke certificates for those who are using them to share pirated versions of apps.
Those such as TutuApp, Panda Help, AppValley, and TweakBox have been using Apple’s enterprise certificates as a way to distribute pirated versions of paid-for apps as well as ad-free versions of apps that would normally be supported by ad revenue. There’s a decent number of apps that have found themselves available via such distributors, with Minecraft, Spotify, and Pokemon GO three of the biggest names you’re likely to come across.
The distributors made their money by charging an annual subscription, with members then getting access to all of the apps. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same subscription model that Apple is said to also be considering.
For now, though, it’s killing off enterprise licenses that belong to such pirate purveyors.
“Developers that abuse our enterprise certificates are in violation of the Apple Developer Enterprise Program Agreement and will have their certificates terminated, and if appropriate, they will be removed from our Developer Program completely,” an Apple spokesperson told Reuters. “We are continuously evaluating the cases of misuse and are prepared to take immediate action.”
Of course, this is bound to become a continuous battle.
After Reuters initially contacted Apple for comment last week, some of the pirates were banned from the system, but within days they were using different certificates and were operational again.
Sharing pirated apps obviously violates Apple’s policies and it should probably come as no surprise that Apple has taken action here. We just wonder why it took so long that multiple companies were able to build businesses around pirating apps this way.
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