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Vista Phony 7 is Broken, Cracked

Co-authored with G. Forbes

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Summary: Vista Phony 7 [sic], Microsoft's latest platform for mobile devices, has serious new deficiencies

MICROSOFT RUSHED Vista Phone 7, its ridiculous cross-vendor response to Android, some while ago. It had also been intended to compete with the Blackberry and hypePhone, controlled solely by RIM and Apple respectively. Signs of VP7's immaturity continue to show, with this critical bug being reported: "Someone found out the hard way what happens when you install more than 15 applications that use the push notification system in Windows Phone 7. To put it bluntly: it stops working."



“Microsoft has quickly become a laughing stock in the area of smart phone software.”When it comes to application sales, Microsoft cannot realise just how badly they did with the tiny userbase. Pouring salt on these wounds, the Windows Phone Marketplace DRM has been cracked anyway (more here):

"WPCentral has been given a proof of concept which shows them breaking through WP7 Marketplace’s DRM. The weakness has apparently been known to developers for some time, and WPCentral has given the information to Microsoft, and are working to patch the hole."

Microsoft has quickly become a laughing stock in the area of smart phone software. Mediocre security is indicative of substandard programming, and with this DRM proof-of-concept crack, a solution has already arrived from the outside:

Tobias, the white hat hacker who recently revealed a proof-of-concept crack for the copy protection on Windows Phone 7 apps has taken steps to develop a solution for his own hack. His FreeMarketplace code (only 65.5kb in size) took only about 6 hours to develop, but in the process demonstrated how easily the Microsoft’s app DRM copy-protection for WP7 could be stripped. The crack was not intended to harm the WP7 Marketplace, but was intended as a critique of Microsoft’s seemingly lax security. To help protect developers in the interim, while Microsoft develops its own solution, Tobias has posted code that developers can deploy in their apps to help protect them from piracy.


Nick Farrell explains that this "software exploits a flaw in raw installation packages or "XAP" files, which means they can be freely downloaded. This works because the Zune client software downloads XML files with all the package locations to enable application browsing and installation, and both the XML and XAP files are served without restriction." Microsoft has had problems with managing operating system permissions for a long, long time.

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