Trouble in paradise: Apple tarnished after App Store is hacked
By Rick Martin
July 12, 2010
After reports last week that a number of iTunes accounts had been hacked and used to purchase apps, ostensibly by developers targeting top-ranking positions in the App Store, Apple addressed the problem publicly... albeit in a somewhat low-key and reluctant tone, reminiscent of antenna-gate. The company's official statement read as follows:
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.
If your credit card or iTunes password is stolen and used on iTunes we recommend that you contact your financial institution and inquire about canceling the card and issuing a chargeback for any unauthorized transactions. We also recommend that you change your iTunes account password immediately.
While this statement does tell us that such predatory developers are being kicked out of Apple's marketplace, it does not indicate what measures (if any) the company is taking to prevent such fraud from being committed in the future.
A few days before the issue went public, Apple advertised for an "iTunes Fraud Prevention Specialist," an indication that they were likely aware of the App Store's security problems even at that early stage, and were presumably gearing up for counter-measures. The job ad has since been pulled from the website, or possibly filled.
Again, this hearkens back to the iPhone 4 antenna issue, where shortly afterward we saw the company seeking out antenna engineers on the Apple job board.
Whatever the case, Apple watchers are surely taking notice that the company's job board is more than just a listing of dream jobs that we'll likely never have, but on occasion can be a telling bruise indicative of some hidden rot inside.
As for consumers who suspect that their iTunes account might have been compromised, The Next Web has laid out a useful fact sheet as well as some helpful measures to take.