There are a lot of posts popping up this past weekend about iTunes being "Hacked". While "Hacked" does not appear to be an accurate description - as it appears no rouge hackers broke through the walls and stole passwords from users randomly. What it does look like is in Apple's "Pristine" walled garden there are lots of weeds. I for one have said iTunes and Apples ability to control what goes on in iTunes is in the long run a key advantage over the Android eco system. However that is only true if Apple does their part - and right now that does not appear to be the case. The current incident appears to be where some less than reputable App developers have taken purchasing / account info from users of some of their apps to purchase their other apps.
See the following for more info:
The Next Web - Apples App Store Filled with "App Farms"
TUAW - App Store Chicanery powered by iTunes account fraud
Mashable - iTunes Accounts Hacked
The Next Web - iTunes accounts hacking more widespread than initially thought
Alexbrie - iTunes accounts hacked by shady developer?
Again I don't think from what I read that "Hacked" is an accurate description - I think "Shady developers mis-use iTunes accounts" would be a better description. Reading through the one post from The Next Web - they mention some of the developers doing App farms and if these developers are responsible for the illegal activities and Storm8 is one of the guilty parties as mentioned by The Next Web - then I think Apple has shown they have not done their job in policing the iTunes App store. Back on Episode 104 I mentioned a post on Boing Boing - iPhone game dev accused of stealing players phone numbers - At the time I had this to say on the show:
Ok - what I am not sure on this next one is what shocks me / surprises me the most - And this is per the story about how the company storm8 is being sued for harvesting cell numbers of the iPhones where the app was installed. What I am not sure on which surprises me the most - is one that they did this after what was reported earlier this summer with a company in Switzerland doing the same - or that Storm8 and their games are still in the App store - and some were free ones I even talked about in the past - World War, Vampires Live, Ninjas live, iMobster and more - although I think I only talked about World War. Which by the way sucked and I removed from my iPhone long ago. I am really shocked apple has not just kicked them out. They are claiming it was a bug - you know they type of bug where you accidentally climbed up on a chair and reached up on the fridge and were reaching into the cookie jar when your parents turned the light on - type of bug. Yeah. And Boo boo boo storm8
I am not saying Storm8 has stollen users passwords and put false charges on users account - I don't now that one way or the other - but to even see them mentioned and one of their Apps mentioned in some of the posts on this subject leads me to think where the is smoke there is fire. And if they do in fact prove to be one of the guilty parties - Apple had been given warning about these guys back in 2009 and did NOTHING. Just like they have done nothing with the App developers that have paid for their reviews.
Bogus iTunes App Reviews
More Bogus App reviewers and reviews
That's right Apple having it brought to their attention of bogus paid app reviews in iTunes back on April 30th has done nothing and taken no actions with regards to the App reviewers taking payola for app reviews or the ones paying for the App reviewers. Apple was made aware of Storm8 in 2009 and did nothing. Apple has weeds in their walled garden, those weeds have been brought to their attention and it sure looks like Apple is not interested in yanking out those weeds. This in my opinion is a bigger issue than anything that may or may not be wrong with the iPhone 4. It is the eco system stupid and it sure looks like Apple is not on top of their developers.