Apple removes spam message app from App Store

July 6th, 2012 - 2:20 pm ICT by IANS  

San Francisco, July 6 (IANS) Apple has removed an application collecting users’ address book contacts from its App Store, which was taken as the first instance of iOS App Store malware.

“The Find & Call app has been removed from the App Store due to its unauthorized use of users’ Address Book data, a violation of App Store guidelines,” Apple said in a statement to tech blog The Loop.

“Find & Call” was first reported Monday by Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab, which said it was alerted to a suspicious app both available in Apple’s App Store and Google’s online store Google Play that had been collecting users’ address book contacts and sending them to the developer’s servers, reported Xinhua.

The developer’s system then sent spam text messages of the app’s URL to those contacts, which are shown to be sent “from” the original user’s mobile phone number.

According to the screenshots before the app was removed, all user comments both in Apple’s App Store and Google Play are quite angry, complaining that the app sends SMS (Short Message Service) spam.

The app so far only targeted Russian users since it uses Russian in the app description, but the app was available in App Store around the world.

“Malware in the Google Play is nothing new but it’s the first case that we’ve seen malware in the Apple App Store. It is worth mentioning that there have not been any incidents of malware inside the iOS Apple App Store since its launch 5 years ago,” said the Kaspersky Lab in its blog.

The lab noted that it is the first time that they confirmed a case of malicious usage of users’ personal data.

Also on Thursday, several popular apps in Apple’s App Store, including Angry Birds Space HD Free and GoodReader, which have been updated over the last few days, have been crashing immediately upon launch.

Technology news site TechCrunch reported that Apple has officially acknowledged the issue in its developer fora and is working on a solution.

“We are aware of the issue related to apps crashing after update. We are currently working on resolving the issue. Stay tuned for updates,” said a statement posted with the username “iTunesConnect” in Apple’s developer forum.

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