Google: Android apps going on lockdown

Google has been working on a secure system to protect developers from having their applications pirated. Google has made the first anti-piracy effort today by providing devs a “set of code libraries.” These libraries in turn will assist the dev with the ability to send a message to the Android Market, thus allowing the request of an apps license status. Android Market checks through it’s database (server-based authentication) to see if the user actually bought the app and then sends the dev a message providing the details. The “set of code libraries” is available for free to all devs and works on Android 1.5 or higher.

Licensing Service technical information:

  • This capability has been in the Android Market client app since 1.5, so you don’t have to be running the latest Android flavor to use it.
  • It’s secure, based on a public/private key pair. Your requests to the server are signed with the public key and the responses from the server with the private key. There’s one key pair per publisher account.
  • Your app doesn’t talk directly to the licensing server; it IPCs to the Android Market client, which in turn takes care of talking to the server.
  • There’s a substantial tool-set that will ship with the SDK, the License Verification Library (LVL). It provides straightforward entry points for querying the server and handling results. Also, it includes modules that you can use to implement certain licensing policies that we expect to be popular.
  • LVL is provided in source form as an Android Library project. It also comes with a testing framework.
  • There’s a Web UI on the publisher-facing part of the Market’s Web site for key management; it includes setup for production and testing.
  • Obviously, you can’t call out to the server when the device is off-network. In this situation you have to decide what to do; one option is to cache licensing status, and LVL includes prebuilt modules to support that.

[via Android Dev Blog]

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About Tony P
Connoisseur of all that is Mobile Tech.

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