appstore


Last weekend there were reports that iTunes and the App Store had been hacked. However, it turned out that a developer had used other users' iTunes accounts to buy his apps repeatedly, quickly moving the apps up the App Store sales ranking. It now appears that another developer, WiiSHii Network, has started doing the same thing.

Ars reader Harper Reed contacted us to detail the problem. His account was used earlier today to purchase 34 of WiiSHii Network's apps without his permission, for a total of $168.89. The apps appear to mostly be travel guides for cities in China, and come in both English and Chinese versions—oddly enough, Reed ostensibly bought both.

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Junk apps have been on the rise in the App Store, with some developers hoping to cash in on popular searches by offering "cheat" apps that ostensibly help you conquer the game you're really searching for. I noticed this myself recently when I went looking for Words With Friends. Developer Marco Arment dug a little bit deeper and believes these apps may be crossing into some legal gray areas. The good news, however, is that there's something that both developers and users can do about it.

Arment pointed out that many of these apps use icons, application names, and in some cases, other artwork that could constitute copyright or trademark violations. We found dozens of apps that use icons and logos for iPhone games like Words With Friends, Angry Birds, We Rule, and The Sims, as well as apps that purport to offer cheats for console games like Super Mario Bros Wii, Mario Kart, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Modern Warfare 2.

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