iPhone maker Apple has evicted an obscure developer from its iTunes App Store following a spike in the populariy of his releases, arousing suspicion.
Romanian iPhone developer Alexandru Brie was the first to note that Thuat Nguyen's Vietnamese-language comic books had taken 41 of the top 50 spots in the App Store's paid books category which displaced Brie's own app from its top-20 perch.
According to Brie the issue was that it seemed peoples' iTunes accounts had been hacked with mass purchases of one developer's apps being made using their accounts.
On Tuesday morning, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said in an e-mail message that the issue had been resolved and the developer Thuat Nguyen and his apps were removed from the App Store for violating the developer Program License Agreement, including fraudulent purchase patterns.
According to Muller, developers whether they are genuine or fraudulent did not receive any iTunes confidential customer data with downloads of one of their apps. She added that anybody who saw fraudulent purchases on their iTunes account should have their credit car issuer cancel the stolen number and refund their accounts for the unauthorised purchases.
She, however, did not offer any response to follow-up questions as to how Nguyen might have scammed the system or whether other developers had engaged in similar practices.
According to analysts the simple answer to the first question could be that App Store scammers had used the usual tricks to compromise customer accounts one at a time -- viruses, phishing scams or other trickery.