iMessage Chat, a new app on the Google Play Store, claims to be able to allow Android users to connect to their friends on iMessage, which is a tempting proposition. iMessage is a free messaging service that allows users of Apple products like the iPhone and iPad to message one another without paying SMS rates. But so far, Apple has restricted access to the service to its own walled garden.
According to a post by Jay “Saurik” Freeman, the man behind the popular jailbreak app store Cydia and the Android Security Discussions Group on Google+, the iMessage Chat app tries to get around Apple’s restriction by routing all of its users’ data through a server in China.
In addition, the app requires that you enter your Apple ID and password, which makes sense because Apple has tied your iMessage account to your Apple ID, but it’s also a massive security risk. While the developer of iMessage Chat may not want to use your Apple ID for nefarious purposes, an attacker could get access to it and then have free reign over all your payment details from the iTunes store, as well as access to your iCloud account.
Moreover, the app also has the ability to install APKs on your phone without asking you beforehand, according to a tweet by developer Steve Troughton-Smith.
All told, this adds up to a lot of bad news bears for security. What’s more, Apple has a long history of squashing hacked together functionality like this that it doesn’t control, so I don’t expect iMessage Chat will even be able to consistently work in the future.
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.