updated 11:25 am EDT, Mon July 12, 2010
Artificially boosts Chinese travel apps
iTunes and the App Store have again been hit by fraud in recent days, according to reports. In the new case, apps by a company called WiiSHii Network -- including [EN]GYOYO Shanghai Travel Helper, [EN]GYOYO Beijing Travel Helper and [CN]GYOYO Beijing Travel Helper -- were suddenly thrust high into the paid charts of the Travel category. At least one person, Harper Reed, says that his iTunes account was hijacked to make this happen, since about 34 WiiSHii apps were billed to his account for a total of $168.89.
These were mostly English- or Chinese-language guides to cities in China. The apps appear to have been removed by Apple, however, and the incident may not have been severe as one that recently drew attention to iTunes security. In that situation, Apple confirmed that some 400 people had their accounts hijacked to buy apps from developer Thuat Nguyen.
Although Apple boosted the frequency of CCV requests at iTunes in response, the company denies that iTunes servers were hacked. No alternative explanation has been provided; one possibility is that people may simply have fallen prey to phishing attacks. Stolen accounts are sometimes sold on Chinese auction sites.