An app that lets users send and receive messages using Apple’s iMessage service on Android devices sounds cool right? But it’s also very fishy. It also only lasted for less than two weeks. Upon its release, the iMessage Chat app received a lot of criticism from developers who believed it to be encroaching on the security and privacy of Apple users.
The unofficial app was bashed earlier this week by developers who claim that the service was harvesting Apple ID usernames and passwords by passing packets through China-based servers.
Furthermore, facts such as the need for an Apple user to offer up his Apple ID in order to use the service caused concern. According to Google, iMessage Chat was removed for violating the company’s store policy — that’s unofficially collecting sensitive user data.
Apple’s official iMessage was introduced in 2011 with the announcement of iOS 5, being exclusive to iOS and Mac devices.
Seeing that all information used to log into iMessage is connected and encrypted data associated with personal Apple usernames and passwords, a service that manages to find a loophole should be considered dodgy.
As Computer World suggests, the iMessage Chat could have been used to collect those valuable credentials which are used to access iOS devices remotely for data wiping, purchasing content on iTunes, and buying goods.
As Computer World also notes, another well-known developer, Jay Freeman, suggested that he believed the app to be connecting with Apple’s servers using third-party applications:
“I believe that this application actually does connect to Apple’s servers from the phone, but it doesn’t then interpret the protocol on the device. Instead, it ferries the data to the third-party developer’s server, parses everything remotely, figures out what to do with the data, and sends everything back to the client decoded along with responses to send back to Apple.”
More people raised their concerns on Twitter:
iMessage for Android app has code to download APKs in the background? TOTALLY SAFE. Not rootkit-ing your phone or anything?
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) September 24, 2013
Cross-platform messaging is a big deal, as we’ve seen with Blackberry Messenger recently creating great disappointment after its rollout for iPhone and Android was halted a few days ago. Apple’s iMessage remains a significant stand out feature in keeping users committed to the platform.
Image via modmyi.com