Avoiding Fakes

Hi All,

Our popular apps are faked by a someone with just email address on their app profile. The mistake they did is, they even included some of the assets from us in their application.

Any suggestion on how to get rid of these people from Play Store?

So they completely eviscerated the app - so it (mostly) looks different ? And they removed the ad ids etc. so you won’t get ad revenue either ?

One tack to take is that the app could “potentially” be a “fake app which is potentially a virus app” - as reported recently with fake apps:

http://www.net-security.org/secworld.php?id=13860
Privacy-invading module found in thousands of apps on Google Play
Posted on 29 October 2012.


She detected one such app after downloading by mistake a fake Flash Player from Google’s official Android market and getting warned about its malicious nature by her company’s own mobile security app:

Similar article:

http://blogs.mcafee.com/mcafee-labs/unwanted-apps-in-google-play-pose-as-fake-av
Unwanted Apps in Google Play Pose as Fake AV
Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 11:47am by Carlos Castillo

This article seems relevant to your predicament - i.e. the “confusingly similar”:

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/08/google-play-cracks-down-on-confusingly-similar-apps/
Google Play cracks down on “confusingly similar” apps
New developer policies also place limits on spam, ads, billing.
by Kyle Orland - Aug 1 2012, 12:10pm EDT


The most important change for the unsavvy consumer might be the new restrictions on copycat apps. Now, these knock-offs “must not have names or icons that appear confusingly similar to existing products.” That new policy should be useful in combatting apps like Infinity Blade II, a fake version of Chair Entertainment’s popular iOS game that surfaced on Google Play recently, or Temple Run, which appeared in many forms on Google Play before the official version was ready. Apps with names like “Irate Birds” or “Snip the Rope” might also come under fire for being “confusingly similar,” depending on how strictly Google plans to enforce the clause.

But with over 600,000 apps and counting on the service, it’s going to be hard for the company to ferret out every single copycat on its own. Google will likely rely on users and developers to report the mimicry in a manner similar to that for reporting copyright infringement.

http://support.google.com/bin/request.py?&product=androidmarket&contact_type=lr_dmca

The link given above:

http://support.google.com/bin/request.py?&product=androidmarket&contact_type=lr_dmca

It asks for URL for where you show your copyrighted work and that of the alleged infringer.

What you could do is setup a webpage where you do comparison of your app to the infringer - perhaps opening it to the page/asset where it shows an exact version of your material - and capturing a screenshot of it (using some screenshot app).

Putting your case into a webpage would be convenient for them also to reference.

Here is another way going through Google Play itself:

http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2479847
Reporting a Malicious or Inappropriate App


We’ll review flags for hate speech, spam, nudity, malicious behavior, and other violations of our Terms of Service.

If you’ve found a malicious or inappropriate app, please report it to our team by following these steps:

From Google Play, visit the app’s description page
Scroll to the bottom of the page
Touch “Flag as inappropriate”
Select the reason for the flag, and then touch “Submit”

adforandroidapps,

Thanks for great reply. People like you make this forum worthwhile.

Yes the developer changed his app UI (For which I should credit him). But essentially looked at the api’s we are using and is exactly using the same API’s and third party libraries(By decompiling our code). The developer also made his app names very similar and icons very similar (If we used a man doing something, he used exact same pose but instead put a woman in that place like techniques).

The developer stole at least 1 Million downloads from us.

Well if it is not using same assets, and is essentially reverse engineering just the format - then it maybe hard.

Unless you can compare code and show is similar or something. Or the app is fairly comples - if the app is simple, it could be argued there is only one way to do it.

Perhaps a solution is to use some JNI/native stuff - and obfuscate that as well - i.e. use random names a(), b() for the external JNI calls.

I assume you are using proguard when you compile in eclipse to obfuscate as much as possible (though supposedly that can be reversed also).

Use proguard. And regarding the assets, move them to the /assets folder and use some kind of fast scrambling (xor with a fixed number comes to mind) which should be enough to stop the kiddies.

You could also contact Google, but I’m afraid they won’t do anything about it, otherwise there wouldn’t be any clones on Google Play, and as we all know, there are plenty.

Androider could you elaborate on hiding resources in the assets folder? I have this problem with my apps too.