Apple, Cloud Computing, Companies, Software Programs, Technology Security

Trojan Horses and App Corruption Found in Apple App Store

As we’ve reported in the past, Apple’s claims to be a virus-free ecosystem are without a doubt completely false and untrue. Furthermore, Apple has liked to claim that Android is a fragmented, wild-west type of marketplace. Today, we heard two different stories that lead us to believe that Apple is not immune to the problems of Android.
In the past, there have been reports that Android devices are vulnerable to virus attacks via applications in the app store. Google since then has taken measures to scan applications and to make sure such things do not happen as much in the future. Now, reports are beginning to surface thanks to Kaspersky Labs’ discovery in partnership with Russian telecom provider MegaFon. They discovered a suspicious application called Find and Call which was readily available in the Apple App Store as well as Google Play.

Kaspersky reported that they had initially thought it to be an SMS worm spreading via sending short text messages on all of the contacts located in the phonebook linking to the URL of the application. But further analysis determined that the application was in fact a Trojan virus and had uploaded the users’ entire address books with all of their contacts information into a remotely located server. The server then remotely texts all of those contacts with the link in order to spread the virus to more devices worldwide. They also reported that user comments and reviews of the applications in both the Apple App Store as well as the Google Play Store were extremely angry and negative giving both applications one star, with many more iOS reviews and comments.
The guys and gals at Kaspersky went into great detail, here, and eventually determined the scope of the application’s spam as well as who could be behind the application’s creation.

A second story reported by the guardian reports that more than 70 applications which have been updated since July 3rd are beginning to crash upon launch due to an issue with Apple’s DRM system. One of the apps affected by this issue with the Apple App store is the free version of Angry Birds. Apple has stated that they are aware of the issue and are looking into it.

Even applications that have been completely uninstalled and then reinstalled still have this issue and as a result, some of these applications are completely useless as of this moment. The corruption has affected different applications in different ways with some users losing their application data, while others simply cannot launch the said applications. As a result of this, many app developers are being harmed by this and has made some app developers cautious about publishing their applications on the App Store. If their applications do not launch as a result of Apple’s own problems, their applications get voted down and as a result fewer people will download those applications and hurt the developers’ standing in the App Store marketplace.

The DRM system, FairPlay, was originally devised as a DRM system for Apple’s music in order to protect the content from being copied or stolen, but has also been extended to apps in the app store. This seems a bit odd for Apple to be employing on applications like Angry Birds Free, which are already free applications to begin with. But as with all things, Apple wants to be able to serve ads on the free version as well.

Thankfully for Apple, this did not happen during an especially busy app launch, something like the Chrome Browser launch for iOS, which is now the second most downloaded free app in Apple’s own App Store. We have been using it on our Android 4.0 devices and recommended it to all of our friends using iOS and not a single one has be disappointed with its speed or extremely intuitive UI. Some commenters on the app’s page paint a different picture, but with this much popularity all those people we’ve talked to can’t be wrong.