It looks like Apple can breath a little more easily as 2013 gets underway, since a major source of pirated iPhone and iPad apps for cracked / jailbroken devices has now permanently shut down, with the odd short announcement shown below. Hackulous, the number one source of pirated apps has shut its doors, allegedly due to lack of user interest, citing stagnation of the community forum and the difficulty of keeping it moderated.
This shutdown also took out the related Apptrackr, the web-based partner index for cracked apps and Installous, the application used to deliver those pirated apps has been disabled due to the failure of Apptrackr. Running Installous now simply gives an error message that it’s an outdated version, with no clue as to the real reason for its failure. TorrentFreak tried contacting Dissident about this, the Hackulous admin who has previously been in willing dialogs with them and even guest posted on their site, but TorrentFreak’s emails to him now simply bounce.
To me, this shutdown looks like it has all the hallmarks of action by Apple against the site. There were millions of Installous users who were served adverts at key functional stages of every free pirated app, so a stagnant community seems very unlikely. Then, why would the admins just suddenly shut down the operation with no prior warning, citing the supposed “difficulty” of moderating a forum that nobody uses? Such forums are actually extremely easy to moderate due to this very lack of activity. Finally, the admin suddenly becomes unreachable without any warning whatsoever. No, this looks like a (legal?) hit against an unauthorized site that was doing very well.
In the meantime, Apple hasn’t made any comment about this shutdown. Perhaps the truth will out in time, but don’t hold your breath, as the people behind it don’t want to talk. Regardless of why, this is going to be a very sour New Year for those users who were using this service and the timing doesn’t look like coincidence, either – just the kind of poke in the eye against such people that would satisfy Apple.
We are very sad to announce that Hackulous is shutting down. After many years, our community has become stagnant and our forums are a bit of a ghost town. It has become difficult to keep them online and well-moderated, despite the devotion of our staff. We’re incredibly thankful for the support we’ve had over the years and hope that new, greater communities blossom out of our absence.