Did you know: in 2012, the FBI shut down an app store that sold $17 million's worth of pirated Android apps


As much as Google loves to tout the Play Store as a haven for developers, rampant piracy is the elephant in Android's app store and its hosts aren't so keen on addressing the mammal with a trunk and eye patch. Then again, there's not much Google can do – the means for cracking .APK files are deeply rooted in the operating system's open nature. App developers cannot possibly profit from piracy – apart from gaining exposure at a very troublesome price. But, just like in the fairy tales of old, pirates can make a fortune selling stolen goods – if the authorities don't get in the way, that is!

Unlike Jack Sparrow and his comrades, 22-year old Android app pirate Aaron Buckley and his 29-year sidekick Gary Sharp, weren't so lucky. Neither of them gets to go away with piles of gold or a captive princess's adoration. Rather, they will be sentenced on August 1after admitting their involvement scheme to sell over 4 million illegal copies of copyrighted Android applications, worth well over $17 million.

Between May 2010 and August 2012, the two intended to distribute the stolen applications through an online black market for apps called Applanet. But the FBI traced their activities and seized the Applanet website on Aug 21, 2012, making this the first time a mobile app store has been shut down by the U.S. government.

In addition to the $17 million fortune the two thought they were destined for, Sharp planned to make a cool $1.7 million for himself and two other cyber bandits by selling over one million Android apps through a different marketplace, the SnappzMarket. Unimpressed by their looting skills, the FBI took this website down as well.

Moral of the story? Being a pirate is no longer cool, kids. Get a honest job and support your favorite app developers' hard work by buying their products!

Also read:


source: DOJ

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23 Comments

1. xq10xa

Posts: 808; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

"Being a pirate is no longer cool, kids." Umm yes it is. Just depends what kind of pirate you are.

10. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

@xq10xa Well, I'm an old fashioned pirate...! Although I wouldn't go as far as to call downloading torrents cool... If only I was RICH... BLOODY RICH!!! NO... FILTHY RICH!!!

15. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 652; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

I agree and further that being a "Folsom Pirate" might very much be favorable these days; with SF in such a proximity to Cupertino and Mountain View, the Android and Apple folks can unite for once a year... How cool is that!

2. XDAdam

Posts: 276; Member since: Feb 03, 2016

I remember when the Play Store looked like that. It was called the Android Market back then. Ahh the early years of Android...

3. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

I don't like paying for apps, honestly! And yes, my Nexus 5 is guilty of having SEVERAL pirated apps (Gulp)... I'm an old man, and old habits never surrender...

5. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

So I'm guessing you used to be a thief in your younger days?

7. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

@kiko007 Well... Er... Next question, please...

8. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Haha +1!

9. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

None of my apps are pirated. Most apps cost less than a beer, you really must be a cheapskate. No wonder devs don't like to develop for Android or put IAP's in them or even more annoying ads... Thanks man!

20. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 715; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

Unless you have a credit card registered. A lot of us don't even own credit cards.

23. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

There are other options like paypal. Or just get a prepaid credit card

12. XDAdam

Posts: 276; Member since: Feb 03, 2016

Use Google Opinions to take some surveys and earn Play credit to pay for apps. You wont be paying out of pocket and it still supports the developer... and you don't have to go search for pirated apps anymore.

21. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

Doesn't work in my country

4. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

No it isn't, and throughout history, it never was. Modern culture romanized the adventurous nature of stealing from others as a "deed for the people" but most pirates were alcoholics/rapiest with serious health problems. The pirates mentioned in the article aren't nearly as terrible, but stealing other people's hard work is a dick move no less.

6. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Seriously people, do you really need a dollar icon pack so bad you'd steal it? Come on now!

11. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

@kiko007 For an old man who is living off on his pension; every single bloody dollar (Even The cheaper Aussie Dollar) counts!!! G'Day! Long live the Kangaroos...

13. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Long live the Kangaroos too you to my friend..... Oh and the Koalas!!!!! (I really F*ng love Koalas)

17. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Oy, a dingo stole my baby!

16. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Wow! I wished I knew about that store. I have Simcity Buil-It (love Maxis) and I made lots of in-app purchases. Roughly $200 from the original game I downloaded from Play Store. I got to the end. So I wanted to start over, but I wasn't going to spend money again. So I found a hacked version that has plenty of money so I can build the way I want right away. But at least I supported the original dev first. The original dev made $200 from my in-app purchases. But I havent seen any app on iOS or Android that I had to have so bad, that cost money that I felt I needed to steal it. On iOS I downloaded some games to give them an official try. If I didnt liek them, I dumped them. The ones I like, I purchased. If Apple would force dev to have trials, then no one would side-load on iOS. With Android havign so many free apps, you can usually find a free version of almost any game. These guys must have mae all this money on in-app purchases, not selling a rogue APK.

18. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

They must shutdown Android itself since it is an bad imitation for iOS.

22. villagerguyz

Posts: 96; Member since: Jul 22, 2015

wut???

19. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

One question... Relevance??? This occurred August 21, 2012... So it's not an anniversary of the date. It's only 4 years ago so it's not a milestone like a 5 or 10 year occurrence. No change has been made to the OS or the .APK to either prevent it or make it easier for pirates that was mentioned in the article. Neither of the parties involved have been reported to have been caught doing it again, or creating a legitimate 3rd party app store. Seriously, what is the purpose other than as click-bait? Oh... wait, I answered my own question. Well done PA, it worked again.

24. g2a5b0e unregistered

So you can't talk about something unless it's an anniversary? This is a tech website. This article is about tech. There's your relevance. Your post makes no sense.

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