I'm in the process of choosing an eCommerce partner for selling my future shareware. I have narrowed down to eSellerate and Kagi as they are widely adopted by Mac shareware developers. After reading their respecting obfuscated pricing policies, I decided to have a look at what they offer for integrating the purchasing process into the application.
Kagi offers the Kagi Registration Module (KRM) which is basically a library that provides an in-application one click purchase experience. Sounds pretty good. I start reading the KRM developer documentation and stumble on the Security section:
The ZonicKRM submits orders through an SSL connection for security, however pricing information is currently passed from the application to the ZonicKRM as an XML string.
If this data is not checksummed, or otherwise protected, a malicious user may be able to edit the XML string within an application's executable and submit an order with an invalid price.
In the long term, this attack will be denied by moving the responsibility for pricing information from the KRM library to the KRM server. When this process is complete, vendors will be able to override the pricing information in shipping copies of an application using their Kagi database entry.
WHAT THE FUCK ? The user is able to choose the price he wants to pay ? Can't be true, this part of the documentation must be outdated. Guess what... it's not, long term is long term!
Note that checksumming or protecting is pure bullshit as long as the price comes from the application and not Kagi's server.
I searched for the first shareware using KRM I found, opened it with an hex editor, did search and replace of the string 30.00 to 01.00 and I indeed successfully ordered the shareware for $1.
This is totally irresponsible from Kagi. I don't know how this registration scheme could have been designed this way in the first place. No sensible person can design an ordering system where the price is set by the client.
Please don't flame me, I'm a good guy. I contacted the $30 shareware author and offered to pay the remaining $29 I owe him. I should have searched a bit longer for a cheaper shareware. $1 + $29 is a bit expensive to demonstrate that KRM sucks ;-)
The Bottom Line
Don't use KRM as long as you can't set the price of your shareware on Kagi's server.