Today I will be covering a most debated topic. Are cracked apps safe? Are modded apps safe? It’s not a simple to answer yes or no. So, let us understand the logic behind cracked and modded apps. Google has it’s official play store to download apps for your android. But there are many alternative stores where you get both official apps from play store and also modded and cracked apps.
We all know that Android is an open source operating system. Google designed it in such a way that a user can side load apps from external sources as well. It is not the same for iOS. Apple restricts the use of apps from external sources.
What are Cracked Apps?
Basically cracking is nothing but modifying the app’s code and then signing it again. You can enjoy premium features of an app by cracking it. Even paid apps become free when you crack them.
How is App Cracking done?
If you really understand how cracking of an app works, then it is easy to judge whether cracked apps are safe to use. Mostly cracking involves unpacking of app’s source code and then modifying it to enable premium or paid features. Once the code is modified, it is then packed as APK file and signed digitally. We all know that developing an app requires programming and a program is nothing but combination of statements. It also contains ‘if statements’ that decide if a feature is to be turned on or off. For example the code might contain a statement similar to the one below :
So, if you just change false to true and disable to enable, then premium features are enabled. Sometimes, cracking of an app is as simple as this. But nowadays app developers are protecting their codes and using encryption to avoid code modification. That is the reason you find some of the apps are impossible to be cracked.
I, myself have tried cracking an app’s source code using an app called cheatdroid. Basically cheatdroid app allows you to browse files and database entries of an app, from where you can change the values to crack it. For example, in WhatsApp, when you send an image to a contact or send it as status update, it is not uploaded with 100% image quality. When I went into the source code, I found that there is an entry status_image_quality with value ‘55‘ that means it is not uploaded as original. If you change the value to ‘100‘ then original image is used for upload. This is how simple cracking is done. However complex cracking requires a lots of effort.
Are cracked/modded apps safe?
Coming back to our question. Are cracked apps safe? Well, it depends. If cracking of an app is done in a way as I shown above then it is absolutely safe. But sometimes, hackers modify the app’s source code and insert malicious codes. When these maliciously modified apps are used in someone’s phone, then they become victim of malware attacks.
How to be safe from cracked apps?
As I said, if you understand how cracking is done, then it is easy for you to be safe. Antivirus on mobiles are not efficient. Hence you can transfer the cracked or modded APK to PC and scan it. Or you can also use online scanner like ‘virustotal.com‘ which scans your file with multiple scan engines. If there are no detection then you can use it. But still sometimes the malicious codes in apps are created in such a way that they are undetectable. So be aware of it. There are many ways to know if a cracked app is safe to use. If a cracked app is loaded with malicious code then sometimes it shows unusual behavior. They are slow, they ask unwanted permissions to camera, microphone or gallery. Their size is very high as compared to the original version.
To be on a safer side, it is always recommended that you download apps only from official Play Store. It is not at all advisable to use cracked apps on a rooted device as it involves more risk. If you are really interested in cracking android apps, then learn coding and analyze the code to make sure you are using safe apps. If you know coding, you can make your own version of cracked apps.
If you ask my opinion, I am excited to use cracked apps but at the same time I use them very cautiously and with safety. Because what I believe is nothing is safe in this world. You might have read recent security bulletins that Google has been removing hundreds of malicious apps from the play store every now and then. Now it’s up to you to decide how much secure we are. Comment your opinions.