There's been good news and bad for Microsoft this week. The good news is that the number of apps available in the new Windows Phone marketplace has been growing steadily since October and has now passed the 5,000 mark. This is excellent news for anyone who has a Windows Phone (like me if it ever arrives, grr). This move now looks unstoppable and is increasing at such a steady rate we could see 10,000 apps by some time in February 2011.
On the bad news front, somebody has produced a proof of concept program that steals every one of those programs, free or paid for, from the Windows Phone Marketplace and downloads them for you to use free of charge. Admitted no Windows Phone has enough installed memory to run them all, and who would want to, but for those few people who like pirating stuff and getting everything for free, this will be tempting.
Fortunately the developer of the hack is actively working with Microsoft on this to block the hack and the beginning of the new year should see changes made to the underlying architecture of the Marketplace which will see this blocked. This is a white hat hack and will not be released into the wide world.
What's concerning though is that Microsoft have, for their online services at least, a formidable reputation for security. Hotmail has only faced 1 or 2 major exploits in its entire 15 year life and their server products and server security products are better than they've ever been before.
This crack for the marketplace was apparently put together very quickly and easily however, which raises serious questions about Microsoft's security for the marketplace. It's not just apps that are kept here but details of the app developers, including financial information used to transfer royalty payments to them.
Hopefully Microsoft will act quickly over this holiday period to avoid a serious data leak. In the mean time a video demonstrating the software used to crack the marketplace is available at NeoWin.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.