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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Technology

Adam Housley

Los Angeles, CA

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Attacking the App Store

July 6, 2010 - 11:49 AM | by: Adam Housley

Shady App developers are doing their best to mine Apple’s App Store, hitting unsuspecting consumers right in the pocketbook. Blogs and some tech sites began reporting the schemes over the holiday weekend and while the number of people being hacked is relatively small when considering overall purchases, the spike of fraud is troubling and could be a sign of more to come.

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Right now there are nearly 225,000 third-party ‘APP’s’ on Apple’s iTunes store and people around the globe have downloaded in the neighborhood of 5 billion since the store opened in July of 2008, so the possibility of fraud seems pretty clear even if Apple does its best to monitor the site. The money being made is staggering in app development and it might be a bit of a surprise it has taken this long for crooks to catch on.

Over this past weekend a number of sites began reporting consumer complaints about one developer in particular and the fact that all of a sudden his Apps took over 40 of the 50 top spots in the ‘Books’ application category. The developer’s name is Thuat Nyguen and finding any info about him or his company is impossible at this point. According to online complaints, some people have reported as much as $600 being charged to their iTunes account without their knowledge.

Apple tells us they responded as soon as they were notified of the Nguyen scheme. Through a spokeswoman they say, “The developer Thuat Nguyen and his apps were removed from the App Store for violating the developer Program License Agreement, including fraudulent purchase patterns. Developers do not receive any iTunes confidential customer data when an app is downloaded.”

Apple also tells us the best way to protect yourself is to monitor your account, check app store receipts that should get e-mailed to your personal e-mail account and reset your password regularly. They point their customers to their website apple.com, where there is more information about consumer protection.

In the meantime, people defending Apple and the App Store have began to publish their thoughts online, while others are looking to identify other possible scammers.
More to come on this soon….have you been hacked on iTunes and how do you protect yourself?

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