Is App Store Hacking Endemic? [updated]

TheNextWeb have unearthed what seems to be a major problem on the app store: users getting their accounts hacked and  hundreds of dollars being spent on crap apps.

They first unearthed the problem as being limited to apps developed by Thuat Nguyen, who managed to get a number of his apps in the “books” section of the app store near the top of the list. What appears to be happening, is that he managed to get into people’s iTunes accounts, and put hundreds of dollars of purchases onto it, as well as highly rating his own apps.

However, in their extended research, it appears that he’s not the only shady developer doing it. Nguyen still seems to be one of the main offenders, and there’s a lack of information about him — no legitimate home page for his company or any contact details.

If you’re worried about this: check your recent purchases history, change your password, remove your card information from iTunes.

From the sounds of things, Apple isn’t being to helpful, and is refusing to refund money, in what appears to be a widespread security leak.

If you’ve encountered this, we want to know. Let us know in the comments below, or over in our forum.

UPDATED: The offending apps have now been removed, though it’s not known if this is due to Apple pulling them, or the company getting wind of the trouble, and deciding to cut and run. MacRumors argues that the reports of the hacking are greatly exaggerated, as much of the movement up the app charts are due to the generally low traffic of the “books” section of the app store. They think that while there’s obviously been some inappropriate behavior going on, it’s not a massive attack on everyone’s accounts. They also state that account hacking is a problem, but one that has been going on for a number of years, and hasn’t seemed to jump significantly recently.

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Tim Barribeau is a freelance writer on the science and technology beat. You can find his work throughout the internet.

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Comments

  1. DJ says

    My account was hacked and over $1,400 was charged to my account. I’m working through it now, but so far no progress due to everything being closed for the holiday weekend.

  2. C Turner says

    Apple better decide to care. The draw of the app store and iTunes is the convience and ease of buying things. If people start having to remove their credit card info to keep this from happening, sells will take a nose dive.

  3. JWiPhone says

    I agree, Apple better start to care or their App Store business will nosedive. As a precaution I changed my password and removed my credit card info.

  4. Kabeyun says

    I have to weigh in here. I have had two security problems with my Apple account and in each case Apple CS was polite, informed (or prompt in getting me to someone who was), and helpful, including immediately offering me a refund on a fraudulent purchase.

    I’m sure there are frustrated customers out there. Let’s be sure that if we post negatively, we have specific experience with poor Apple customer service or obstruction with specific, legitimate complaints. Not being a fanboy, just trying to make sure the comments stay fair & accurate.

    -K

  5. Krunk83 says

    My moms iTunes account was hacked and someone in California bought a few hundred dollars worth of apps. She had to cancel her card and dispute it through her credit card to get the money refunded. Wonder if this is the same guy.

  6. Eric says

    My account got hacked for $175.00 then after i had my itunes dissabled some how i got another itunes reciept for 36 bucks charged against my dissabled itunes account screw itunes!

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