Apple’s safety questioned…

Apple’s App store safety has been questioned lately, after the revelation of several cases of fraud through iTunes. Ryan Matthew Pierson was faced with a nasty surprise when he was charged with the amount of $430 for buying guns, nightclubs and cars in iMobsters, a popular game on iPhone. Sadly, Mr Pierson had never played iMobstes, yet he could see these purchases happening in real time.

Apple was called upon and the matter was eventually settled. But Mr Pierson’s account was not the only one to be hacked. Apple advised the users whose payment information had been stolen, to change their iTunes password and to contact their banks.

The App store offers more than 600,000 applications for iPhone, iPad and iPod but has become an easy target for deceivers. It seems that access to the iTunes store can be facilitated for just under $35 by sellers who sell iTunes accounts and promise dollars “in credit”.

And then there are the developers of applications who say they are missing payments from Apple. Especially, Chinese game makers are claiming the loss of thousands of dollars because their accounts have been hacked. The consumers, on the other hand, blame the developers for the loss of their money. For example, the Japanese game giant Sega has received numerous complaints from users who argue Sega has robbed them. The company alerted Apple last summer but is still trying to figure out the problem.

Even though the affected consumers and developers don’t blame Apple for their troubles, they all believe that Apple should have been more conscious and should have addressed the problem more actively. It could, for example, enforce a two-step identity verification scheme, instead of logging in with a single password in all iTunes applications.

Then again, there are those services who approach applications’ developers and offer them (for a fair amount of dollars which has reached $10,000) to put their application in the Top 25 Most Downloaded list. This would be done by software “bots” that automatically download apps and raise their rankings.

Last but not least, consumers have been tricked into buying applications, only to find out that these are not what they seem or that they simply don’t work.

“Apple wants to pretend that everything is magic”, Alex Stamos, co-founder of security firm iSec Partners pointed out. “They need to admit that their products can be used by bad people to do bad things”.


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