iTunes, Youtube Hacked over the Holiday


Who knew the 4th of July was a holiday for hackers? Both Apple and Google faced security breaches over the weekend as iTunes and YouTube were hacked separately.

Let’s start with the Apple hack. Anyone with an iTunes account may want to check their credit or debit card statements, because apparently a Vietnamese developer named Thuat Nguyen accessed user accounts to drive up the sales of his Japanese Manga books.

Initial reports from two competing iPhone app developers, Alex Brie and Patrick Johnson, drew attention to the fact that Nguyen’s titles occupied 42 of the 50 top book apps in the iTunes store. Initially, these titles had little to no user reviews or rankings, but those who caught the mysterious charges on their accounts posted about the security breach in the reviews section. More Apple users started posting about the breach in a Macrumors forum thread.

“Yesterday my credit union contacted me saying there was suspicious activity on my debit card,” one user, srslylia, wrote in the forum. “Sure enough, over 10 transactions in the $40-$50 area all on iTunes equaling to $558. This is definitely a problem.”

More users took to Twitter to advertise their troubles as Apple’s customer service department was closed for the holiday weekend. “I’m ready to shoot someone at iTunes,” one Twitter user wrote, according to tech blog The Next Web. “Someone hacked into my account and spent 100s of $s and they won’t let me talk to a real person.”

Apple has yet to release an official statement, however, according to Engadget, a spokesperson for the company told them that “developers do not receive any iTunes confidential customer data when an app is downloaded.” Additionally, Nguyen and his apps were removed from the App store and iTunes. Nguyen has yet to respond to the allegations.

Those who experienced the breach are advised to cancel their credit/cards and contact their financial institution for reimbursements. They should also change the password on their Apple user account.  

Google’s breach inflicted less monetary damage, though was just as traumatic for many of its users. People trying to watch videos of teen idol Justin Bieber were told via a pop-up ad that he was killed in a car crash. Other users were re-directed to pornography sites when they tried to watch his videos. According to Google, hackers placed html code in the comments section of Bieber’s Youtube pages, which led to the redirect.

“We’re continuing to study the vulnerability to help prevent similar issues in the future,” Google told eWEEK Sunday. The breach was corrected two hours after it was discovered.

What other Apple Apps should you avoid? Check out MainStreet’s article The 15 Worst iPhone Apps.

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