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Jay-Z 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' Android app cloned by anti-NSA hackers

Hackers have cloned Jay-Z's 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' Android app and inserted anti-US government messages.

The cloned app is available from unofficial third party sites rather than the Google Play Store and at first appeared to do everything the real app does.

However code activated on 4 July changed the image to one of Barack Obama wearing headphones and revealed the words 'Yes we scan'. The legitimate software unlocked a pre-release of Jay-Z's album on the same day.

The official app is available exclusively for Samsung Galaxy phones so the hack was probably aimed at users looking to get the content on other Android based devices.

Considering the message, a play on the President's 2008 election slogan 'Yes we can', it seems the hack is in protest of the extensive NSA spying programme recently revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

With the image a manipulation of the 'Hope' election poster designed by Shepard Fairey, the action may also be part of a growing belief that Obama has brought little of the change he promised the country since coming to power.

The pirated software was first revealed by security company McAfee in a blog post by Irfan Asrar (opens in new tab) last week.

"The image and the service name NSAListener suggest a hacktivist agenda, but we haven't ruled out the possibility that additional malware may target financial transactions or other data," he wrote.

Meanwhile Forbes reports that the official app has had its own functionality problems (opens in new tab). One review on the Google Play Store read: "I download it within minutes of the app coming out and I even got to select if I wanted to explicit or clean version... It's July 4th and no album. Screw you. #teamiphone now."

News of the cloned app comes as it is revealed that 99 per cent of Android devices are open to attack due to a four year security flaw (opens in new tab).

Tomas is co-founder of Lucky Pilgrim, a team of journalists, photographers and art directors who connect brands to audiences through words, imagery and design. He was formerly editorial director at Chapel and managing editor at Courier magazine, and was a writer for ITProPortal as well as The Independent, EastLondonLines, The Sunday Times Magazine, and Croon.