iPhone developer banned over fraudulent practices

Apple bans a developer it says is responsible for complaints of hacked iTunes accounts and fraudulent app purchases over the weekend, removing his apps from the App Store.

Jim Dalrymple Special to CNET News
Jim Dalrymple has followed Apple and the Mac industry for the last 15 years, first as part of MacCentral and then in various positions at Macworld. Jim also writes about the professional audio market, examining the best ways to record music using a Macintosh. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. He currently runs The Loop.
Jim Dalrymple
2 min read

Apple on Tuesday said it has taken steps to remedy a situation that arose over the weekend with one of its iPhone developers, who it said used other people's iTunes accounts to purchase his apps.


"The developer Thuat Nguyen and his apps were removed from the App Store for violating the developer Program License Agreement, including fraudulent purchases," Apple said in an e-mail sent to CNET on Tuesday.

Nguyen showed an incredible increase in sales over the July 4 holiday weekend, to the point where this one developer accounted for 42 of the top 50 books by revenue. At the same time, users were reporting that their accounts had been hacked into and used to purchase apps on the App Store.

Despite that, Apple said the iTunes servers were not compromised. "An extremely small percentage of users, about 400 of the 150 million iTunes users--that is less than 0.0003 percent of iTunes users--were impacted," an Apple representative said.

Apple also reassured customers that Nguyen and other developers "do not receive any iTunes confidential customer data when an app is downloaded."

AppleInsider on Sunday said legitimate iTunes accounts are under organized attacks from people in China. Information is reportedly sold to users for a few dollars and used until the credit card is turned off.

Apple said it has implemented a new security measure on the iTunes Store to help curb such activity in the future. Beginning on Tuesday, users will be asked to enter the code on the back of their credit card more frequently, when making purchases from the iTunes Store or when accessing their accounts from a different computer.

Apple recommends contacting your financial institution, if you notice unauthorized iTunes charges on your credit card. The company also recommends changing your iTunes password immediately. You can find other iTunes security tips on Apple's Support Web site.