iMessage comes to Android with third-party app, numerous security concerns

By on September 24, 2013, 6:30 PM

Although many have patiently been waiting for BlackBerry’s BBM messenger to come to iOS and Android, most would agree that a cross-platform iMessage app is far more in demand.

Interestingly, Android users who have downloaded the relatively new "iMessage Chat" from the Google Play Store are now able to communicate back-and-forth with their Apple friends. Despite this short-term thrill, analysts are warning users to proceed with caution; the app could just as easily compromise your smartphone security.

According to 9to5Mac, iMessage Chat is in no way an official Apple app, and was actually created by a third-party developer named Daniel Zweigart. The app works by disguising the Android handset as a Mac mini, before it is processed through the Apple iMessage server. As a result, you must still provide the app with an Apple ID in order to gain access, and unfortunately, this is the primary source of the security concerns.

Jay Freeman, the creator of Cydia, noticed that the app redirects to a server in China prior to forwarding the necessary information to Apple. In essence, the service simply acts as the middle man, handling the transferring and processing of information between your smartphone and the iMessage server. However, no one can be sure what the Chinese server is doing with all of the information; it could easily store everyone’s Apple IDs (with payment and personal information attached) and use them for more nefarious purposes.

Furthermore, esteemed programmer Steven Troughton-Smith also pointed out that the app permits the installation of software in the background, without your knowledge or consent. This means that malware, keyloggers, or a host of other things could be quietly added to your device.

Either way you look at it, users of iMessage Chat are placing plenty of trust in the honesty and well-being of its developers. For most, it’s probably not worth the risk.




User Comments: 13

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JC713 JC713 said:

Good these exploits were noticed on the first day.

OneSpeed said:

Really? Asking Android users to drink the Kool Aid? Why bother when texting is already done with SMS, MMS, etc?

stateofjermaine stateofjermaine said:

I think 2009 is trying to reach us via text.

coppersloane coppersloane said:

If this was a Microsoft product, people would be going full speed on the hate train. But because it's Apple, it gets a pass.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

If this was a Microsoft product, people would be going full speed on the hate train. But because it's Apple, it gets a pass.

The entire point of this article was about the fact it is not an Apple Product -_-

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Really? Asking Android users to drink the Kool Aid? Why bother when texting is already done with SMS, MMS, etc?

Because you pay for that, there are multiple reasons ti why go with iMessage or use that and many other forms of text communication.

Emexrulsier said:

Most ppl I know simply use WhatsApp for "free" message delivery between various different os based devices.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Most ppl I know simply use WhatsApp for "free" message delivery between various different os based devices.

Isn't that being monetized soon? I personally use Kik and Skype.

Emexrulsier said:

Isn't that being monetized soon? I personally use Kik and Skype.

I presume you have used monetized in the wrong context as I am pretty sure there is no plans to turn the whatsapp app into legal tender .

When I emphasised the word free this was in relation to the fact you can indeed send messages for "free" but the actual whatsapp has a nominal year subscription fee in year 2 and sub-sequential years. Currently this is £0.69 in the UK so hardly hear or there.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I presume you have used monetized in the wrong context as I am pretty sure there is no plans to turn the whatsapp app into legal tender .

When I emphasised the word free this was in relation to the fact you can indeed send messages for "free" but the actual whatsapp has a nominal year subscription fee in year 2 and sub-sequential years. Currently this is £0.69 in the UK so hardly hear or there.

I see that isn't too bad, I thought it was something along the lines of pay per month type of dealo.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Most ppl I know simply use WhatsApp for "free" message delivery between various different os based devices.

Isn't that being monetized soon? I personally use Kik and Skype.

I've used WhatsApp for 2 years now & never had to pay yet but even if they do charge me, it's something like 99c a year. I'll happily pay. Skype? Thanx but no thanx.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Most ppl I know simply use WhatsApp for "free" message delivery between various different os based devices.

Yeah I've tried a lot of these messaging apps but WhatsApp remains the best by far to me.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I've used WhatsApp for 2 years now & never had to pay yet but even if they do charge me, it's something like 99c a year. I'll happily pay. Skype? Thanx but no thanx.

Yeah 99c is nothing, I thought it was a monthly payment they have recently changed to. I use Skype due to work related reasons + pretty much requirement for certain gaming aspects as well. About the whole data protection and Skype tapping your calls, don't really care as for anything serious I use custom VOIPs.

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