iTunes App Store hacked

Xavier Verhoeven
5 July, 2010
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It appears Apple’s iTunes App Store was hacked over the weekend, with 41 apps from a single developer, Thuat Nguyen under the name ‘mycompany’, appearing in the Top 50 Books on the store. It is believed the developer somehow accessed other people’s iTunes accounts and purchased the apps, which are all poorly coded and likely copyright-infringing Vietnamese books, to artificially increase their rankings in the store.

Apple has since removed the apps from the App Store, though Alex Brie, a blogger who first brought the strange listings to attention, has suggested other developers might be using a similar hack. The Next Web is also suggesting the hacks could be widespread and have affected customers in multiple iTunes stores, with reports of both US and UK users having their accounts compromised.

Despite these reports, it’s not yet clear whether this is an issue for users outside the US and UK. There have not yet been any specific reports of Australian accounts being hacked.

Nevertheless, it’s best to err on the side of caution in such cases. Here are some steps you may wish to take to ensure your details are safe:

  • If you’re not currently logged in to the iTunes Store, click on the Sign In button in the top right corner of the Store tab, and type your username and password when prompted. The Sign In button will then be replaced by your email address.
  • Once signed in, click your email address (and re-enter your password) to see the Apple Account Information page.
  • On the Apple Account Information page, click on Purchase History and check through your previous purchases. You can also edit other account info, including your password, from the Account Information page.
  • If you find purchases that have been made without your knowledge, you should change your password, remove your credit card details, and contact iTunes support to report the hack.

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