updated 05:29 pm EDT, Thu July 5, 2012
Hong Kong iTunes Store launch marred by bad translations
Apple has pulled a Russian-language malware app from the App Store, according to The Loop. The app, Find and Call, was identified as a trojan on Thursday by security firm Kaspersky. Users who downloaded the title would have their address books surreptitiously uploaded to a remote server, which would then spam text messages purported to be from the user to contacts including a link to download the app. An Android version of the app was also available at one point, but has gone missing from Google Play.
The Loop says it received word from Apple about the software's removal from the App Store. In general, malware is rare at the storefront; any title submitted to it goes through a review process designed to screen out not only malware but any code Apple doesn't approve of, such as unauthorized third-party APIs. While not the first mobile app caught uploading users' contact lists without permission, it may the first "live spamware" app that has made it through Apple's checks. Google Play does not pre-screen applications in its store, and thus such malware is much more common there.
In Hong Kong, meanwhile, Apple is experiencing problems with the launch of the city's iTunes Store. A number of songs by local artists have reportedly had their titles translated into Mandarin pinyin; pinyin is a way of converting Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet. Hong Kong, though, primarily speaks Cantonese, making iTunes needlessly difficult to decipher. A complicating factor is that there is no universal standard for Cantonese pinyin.