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Apple Deny Apps ‘Bug’ Threat

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Apple’s Apps Store ran into a number of difficulties last week.

Malware which pinched a user’s contacts was discovered in an Apple (and Google) app last week by Kaspersky Labs, while a separate issue involving popular apps like Angry Birds to crash was also reported to have affected 20,000 iOS users.

The ‘suspicious’ software discovered on the ‘Find and Call’ app – was found to be a ‘Trojan’ that uploads phonebook contacts to a remote server and then proceeds to use it for SMS spam, probably trying to con users out of cash.

The malware was also found to affect Google’s Android Play store, although security experts noted it was the first case of malware on Apple’s Apps store in five years since its opening.

Although the Find and Call “malware [is] not that ‘cybercriminalistic’…we’re sure that there must be strict and quick response to such incidents. Period,” writes Kaspersky Labs’ Denis Maslennikov.

Reports also indicate Mac developer Marco Arment discovered a separate ‘bug’ on over 100 apps in Apple’s Apps Store where iOS customers purchased apps, which proceeded to crash even when deleted and reinstalled.

However, it only affected customers in some regions and occurred between July 3-5 last, noted Arment, who branded it a “serious issue,” calling on Apple to “please fix this” .

Other apps affected included The Huffington Post, Yahoo! Search and iDesign (114 in all).

These crash and burn apps will also cause ire among developers as “they’ll leave you a lot of angry 1-star reviews,” he adds, referring to angry app users who keep trying to download apps that fail, causing them to think it’s unstable and rate it poorly.

 Appledenied the apps caused widespread disruption, insisting the malware affected a “small number” of users only and said the issue has now been rectified on July 06.

“We had a temporary issue that began yesterday with a server that generated DRM code for some apps being downloaded, it affected a small number of users.

“The issue has been rectified and we don’t expect it to occur again. Users who experienced an issue launching an app caused by this server bug can delete the affected app and re-download it.”

However, Arment disputes this estimation by Apple, insisting “probably” 20,000 were affected by the bug, noting Apple has triggered a reupdate on the affected apps, rather than deleting them as this would cause a user’s existing app to disappear.