We know there are several moving parts to a system like the apple store or google play. At the very least;

  • The device has a unique hardware id or sim card
  • The user has a login/pass
  • The "store" site has some crypto

In what order and format (cypher/plaintext) is this data exchanged between the device and store software before content is installed?

1 Answer 1


This is a very general question, and the answer will differ depending on the application interface you're using.


  • Content is encrypted. You need a "key" to unlock it.
  • The "key" is attained by synchronizing the local profile with a master server.
  • Typical authentication methods are used to login to the master server.
  • All communication to the master server is typically over SSL/encrypted channels.
  • Your profile on the master server will contain all the purchases you have performed, and this is used to generate keys to unlock encrypted content.
  • Keys can be revoked by the master server if necessary.

Its also likely that all content, including free content, is encrypted, and requires a key from the master server to unlock and use/execute. This is all pretty standard authentication/DRM type mechanics.

  • Is the device id in this local profile?
    – jamesson
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 16:26
  • Would depend on whether you're intending on limiting your installs to a number of devices or not. EG: Steam appears to have a separate list of "authorized computers" which you can download content on, I don't know if actual installs per machine are tracked (possibly for stats, unlikely for DRM)
    – Matt D
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 23:30
  • Thamks for the comments. I will be awarding ypu this bounty. Would you mind if I PM/email you with any questions that arise in development that I cannot solve myself?
    – jamesson
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 0:01

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