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Avoid at all costs the iMessage Chat app in the Play Store

The “iMessage Chat” app in the Play Store lets Android users chat with users of Apple’s messaging service. However, the massive security risks it poses outweigh its benefits.
September 24, 2013
imessage chat Android

There’s an “iMessage Chat” app in the Play Store that allows Android users to chat with users of Apple’s popular messaging service. However, the massive security risks it poses outweigh its benefits.

Developed by one Daniel Zweigart, iMessage Chat emulates the design of Apple’s iOS and OS X apps, and spoofs a Mac Mini device to enable compatibility with Apple’s service. In other words, the app is telling Apple’s servers that the Android device it’s running on is actually a Mac.

There are some worrying problems with this unofficial iMessage for Android app though. Chiefly, the app sends the info you type in to a server in China, which then tells the phone what to relay to Apple.

Jay Freeman (Saurik), the creator of the Cydia platform, speculates that the developer might even have access to the Apple credentials, which can cause all kind of security headaches to hapless users.

Another major problem is that iMessage Chat has the permission to download and install APKs in the background, exposing users to rootkits and other forms of malware.

For what is worth, the app seem to work as advertised for many users, though some have complained in the reviews that they can’t log in.

The security risks posed by iMessage Chat are simply too high to justify using it, especially with so many cross-platform messaging services available, from Whatsapp to Google’s own Hangouts.

Regardless of the security risks, the app clearly violates Google’s revised guidelines for app developers, which state that apps are prohibited from infringing copyrights and posing as apps from other companies.

Clearly, that’s one area where Google needs to improve. The recent botched launch of BBM for Android was embarrassing for Google from this perspective, with close to two dozen fake BBM apps in the Play Store trying to trick users into downloading them.