A Windows Store crack allows Windows 8 users to hack trial apps into becoming their full-fledged, paid-for counterparts. According to BetaNews, the Windows Store crack wsservice_crk has been roaming the wilds of the internet for at least a month, with media attention just now beginning to shine down on this new method for internet piracy.
Windows Store developers aren’t required to offer trial or “free” versions of their apps but Microsoft certainly encourages the practice. Windows 8 users can normally install free and purchased applications right from the Windows Store interface that is integrated into Windows 8’s new Start screen interface. The Windows Store is very similar to Google Play and the Apple Store as all apps have to go through a verification process after being submitted by the developer. This process improves security for users as store apps “should” not contain any viruses or other security loopholes.
The Windows Store crack does have one legitimate use. On the Android platform it’s possible to install 3rd party apps that bypass the Google Play market by checking “Unkown sources” in the Application settings menu. I’m not aware of such an option within Windows 8. The Windows Store app cracker not only “upgrades” trial apps but allows users to sideload unsigned homebrew apps.
Microsoft’s developer guidelines for Windows Store currently prevents the distribution of homebrew apps, especially ones that would be turned away. In the past, on other platforms this has included apps that let you take full control of your smartphone by jailbreaking or rooting it. I can imagine many cellular carriers will lean on Microsoft to prevent the dissemination of a free app the provides wireless hotspots, for example.
Like Apple, there are certain restrictions placed on what Windows Store apps are allowed to do and the content they contain. Microsoft has been criticized for these restrictions by game developers since officially it seems like they would preclude many popular games.
But this does not mean the wsservice_crk Windows Store crack is all fun and games. Such a crack may come with significant risk.
First off, using Windows Stores requires a Microsoft account. For most users, this means Microsoft will know who you are through your email address, IP address, or even billing information. Even if you’re not intending to be a nine-year old pirate, Microsoft might see the usage of this Windows Store crack as a problem and decide to “punish” you.
Secondly, for the crack to work, several Windows system files need to be modified. This means you have to trust your security and system stability to an unknown programmer. Who knows if wsservice_crk includes a backdoor into your computer/smartphone for the crack developer?
Like the Windows Store crack, Apple’s own Mac App Store suffered from rampant piracy shortly after its debut. The crack only worked on apps which did not implement Apple’s recommended security features. It’s possible the same is true for Windows 8 developers. A Microsoft spokesman says that the software maker is looking into the matter.