The hacked Android Market apps of SnappzMarket and AppBucket. Archive.org On Friday, federal prosecutors in Georgia filed criminal charges against four individuals in connection to two Android piracy sites, snappzmarket.com and appbucket.net, which the FBI shut down in August 2012. Prosecutors state that this is the first time domains for mobile app marketplaces have been seized. Federal prosecutors claim that from May 2011 until August 2012, a Florida man named Kody Jon Peterson, 22, was involved with the distribution of “over one million” copyrighted applications through SnappzMarket. Two more Floridians, Thomas Allen Dye, 21 and Nicholas Anthony Narbone, 26, as well as Thomas Pace, 38, of Oregon, all identified themselves as being part of the Appbucket Group.

The four men are charged conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and are accused of distributing another one million copyrighted apps through AppBucket from August 2010 to August 2012.

The distribution method in both cases was interesting. Rather than have users browse through a website, SnappzMarket and AppBucket both offered hacked versions of Google’s Android Market app—pictured above—which users would install and use on their Android devices.

The modded app stores would distribute pirated apps from a custom server and offered advanced features like update notifications, searching, and top app lists.

The marketplaces would even show how much a pirated app would have originally cost, with a strike marked through the price.     

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