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Thread: iTunes Store Potentially Hacked (updated)

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    iTunes Store Potentially Hacked (updated)

    This story is accurate to what's been happening in the iTunes world, and while a compromised account is certainly cause for alarm, it isn't happening in the wide-scale this article would lead you to believe. It's estimated that of the 100's of millions of iTunes accounts worldwide, only a few hundred of them could possibly have been compromised as a result of this situation.

    As of now the developer in question has been removed from the App Store and the Books downloads section has returned to normal.

    Always remember to take care of your confidential information when browsing and use complex alpha-numeric passwords to protect your privacy.

    iTunes Accounts Hacked by Vietnamese Developer?
    Posted by Federico Viticci.

    This is the Books category in the iPhone App Store, and these are the top paid apps in that category. Notice something weird? There’s a developer who has 40 apps (!) in that chart, and all of them are badly coded Vietnamese comics (manga) apps based on stolen intellectual property (Conan, Dragon Ball).
    How is this even possible?

    Many users are reporting that their iTunes accounts got hacked, and they found themselves new owners of these applications. Take a look at a screenshot from The Next Web:

    Another iPhone developer, the one that first found out about this Vietnamese dev, reports:

    “The developer itself doesn’t seem to be legit – both the company site and support page are missing, no reference of them could be found on Google.

    It’s statistically impossible that out of 41 book apps of a developer (he also has one game in his 42 apps portfolio), all of them are in top 50 paid books US, having been published on the same days (most of them on April 16, others on April 20 and the rest on April 22).

    The Conan 3 book does have other *extremely* positive reviews written in poor english; none of the other 41 books has any reviews; had the positive ones been legit, other apps should have some kind of reviews as well. But they don’t, so it might be that Conan 3 positive reviews were written by their developer(or his partners), in an attempt of diverting attention from the real issue.”

    It really looks like this guy somehow managed to obtain account information from some users, release 42 apps and buy them using those accounts – thus making it to the top of the charts. We’ll keep you posted about this, but in the meantime I suggest you change your iTunes password and check on your bank / Paypal account activity.

    UPDATE #1: It looks like changing your password might not be enough. It’s highly recommended to change your payment method to “None”, at least as a temporary solution until Apple acknowledges the problem and finds a solution.

    UPDATE #2: From a thread on MacRumors forums:

    “I also received a receipt via email on my “Purchases” on 7/2/10. I made the mistake of storing my debit card on the itunes store app. I have run into the exact same responses that other users are reporting–only email as a method of contact.

    That response was to tell me how to change passwords, etc. – stock answers and to also tell me of no refunds. I was an internet technician for years so the iTunes advise was second nature for me but with little hope for “fixing” the issue since I believe that the breach was on the iTunes server.

    Thankfully, I carry a smartphone with my email setup on it, so I received the invoice quickly. Most of the 15 purchases where for items that I don’t even own i.e. iphone (I have a blackberry) and ipod (I’m 47 and I still use a radio for my music). I was able to verify the $70.15 charge via mobile banking and immediately called my bank. The transaction was in the processing stage and I think my bank was able to refuse it–I’ll see after the holiday weekend. With my card canceled, the additional $20+ charge was unable to be authorized. “

    “Yesterday my credit union contacted me saying there was suspicious activity on my debit card. Sure enough over 10 transactions in the $40-$50 area all on iTunes equaling to $558. This is definitely a problem, since then I’ve e-mailed MSNBC hoping they’ll pick up the story and investigate this problem.”

    (language warning)

    UPDATE #3: MacStories reader Brad Buchanan had similar problems:

    “He rang my dad up for $300 in a matter of hours.

    Six iTunes receipts came at the same time the day he did it. I noticed all the apps were the same developer.”

    UPDATE #4: The issue is not US-only anymore. The Next Web reader Jamie Vickery (from the UK) reports:

    “I’ve just noticed my iTunes account has been hacked in the past week. Someone has downloaded 8 apps and two songs totalling £61.70. The most expensive being an app called All Match by CharismaIST for £54.99! The other apps seem to be based on photographer like Camera One, Night Shot, Camera Flash Ultra. Surely Apple won’t pay out to these developers. I have changed my password and put in an email complaint to iTunes so we’ll see how it goes.”


    Bottom Line: Right now it's better to be safe than sorry, so you might want to consider changing your account information and remove any credit/debit cards you have on file in the iTunes store.

    To do this,
    Click the Store tab at the top of iTunes
    Click View My Account and type in your password
    From the next window you can easily change and update your stored information to anything you want, change your password, etc.

    Again, this isn't a fully confirmed story but these preferences can easily be changed back if it turns out to be science fiction. If not, well then maybe it'll save you from getting some unexpected charges on your credit card in the near future.

    This article courtesy of:
    Last edited by Ithian; 07-04-2010 at 07:18 PM.
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    Wow. I still have a bit of gift card money in my account. I think I should see if anything has been purchased. Thanks for the heads up man!

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