iTunes Accounts Hacked, App Rankings in Books Category Gamed

I was tipped off that a widespread effort is underway to game the Books category of iOS apps in the iTunes App store.  It appears that a coordinated effort is underway to use iTunes accounts to purchase specific apps to drive them up in rankings.

This of course affects those who have unauthorized charges to their credit card, and also those developers with apps in competition for rankings in the book category.

My guess would be that the unethical developer behind this push would also game up competitors apps so that it is unclear which is at fault or benefiting the most from the hacking.  It seems that Apple should have checks and balances to detect for and trigger a flag when a previously unpopular, over-priced iOS app is suddenly in the top 10.

Evidence of folks who have discovered hacks are currently in the comments for some of the apps that have made their way up through gaming.  Currently “Conan 3” an app described as “this is a application to read book” by Thuat Nguyen is in position #9 in the books category today. One of the reviews is as follows:

Watch Out!

Someone out there is hacking into people’s iTunes accounts.  This just happened to me last night.  Luckily, my bank is right on top of things like this and did not authorize release of the funds and closed the account.  Keep a watchful eye on your account information….often!”

Here’s a screen shot of that app’s preview page as it stands. Here are a few tweets about folks getting their iTunes account hacked and an article from May on what the fallout when your iTunes account gets hacked.

Consider updating your iTunes password to include numbers, characters and capitalization!

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