Apple App store safety is a myth

tumblr_mc8zb8BqH31rttlrno1_400If you believe the Tame Apple Press you would think that the Microsoft and Google App stores were a terrible place full of Apps poisoned with malware, while the Apple App store is so rigorously checked, that all is completely safe.

But a study by InfoWorld has poured cold water on that particular myth claiming that the store has just as much malware inside.

Simon Phipps, who is an Open Saucy blogger, wrote that developers who are competing with Apple find that getting their apps into the store nearly impossible and those writing Apps for Apple find that the rules are constantly changing.

“But if you’re a scammer looking to make a fast buck, it appears that Apple process can be defeated and the scale of the problem became apparent in the the Apache OpenOffice community,” Phipps said.

For several months, the user support mailing list has been bothered with apparently random questions from people seeking support for an iPad app. Apache OpenOffice doesn’t even have an iOS version, so people wondered how there could be questions about supporting it.

It turned out that there was a $2.99 app in Apple’s iTunes Store and the developer who posted this app has used all sorts of tricks to populate the entry. He dubbed it Quickoffice Pro, which was the name of a genuine app bought by Google in 2012 and finally discontinued in 2014. Buyers would likely have an instinctive trust for the name, especially because the app uses the icon from the real Quickoffice product.

It simply displays a gray screen with the word Tap. When you tap the screen, the app exits. The developer has pointed angry customers at an innocent open source project whose ethos is to treat all user queries seriously and that doesn’t have the resources to mount a response for lack of volunteers.

It was posted under Lee Elman’s personal Apple developer account without permission or his  knowledge.

But how did this happen if Apple claims to meticulously screen all submissions to the store? InfoWorld found other examples. Again real accounts are being used for fake products.
Apple is not saying anything about the allegations.