Feeds

iPhones dialling up premium-rate bills again

It's enough to make one side with Apple

Security for virtualized datacentres

AdMob has been placing premium-rate numbers into iPhone applications again, this time in an application targeted at kids, who are even more likely than adults to hit the link without noticing.

The application concerned is "Talking Tom Cat". The free app records the user's voice, and plays it back with comedy animations to the delight of the whole family. So entertaining is the app that some users have given their handsets to their offspring to play with – who then manage to make premium rate calls thanks to a link in the embedded advertisement.

A quick look at Who Calls Me reveals a list of people who've been hit by calls to the number dialled by the offending advert, but few of them have tracked the behaviour down to the talking cat. Not that it's just ankle-biters doing it - adults are just as capable of accidentally hitting a link, and while a dialogue is supposed to pop up that's apparently not happening.

"We are also not satisfied with these dialing ads appearing in our app," the developer, Outfit 7, told us, adding: "I personally have written to AdMob at least 5 times concerning this problem."

It's not the first time this has happened: an almost identical incident in January saw users of the novelty application Bubblewrap suffering the same way. At that time AdMob explained to us that it was down to a unfortunate combination of bugs and errors that couldn't have been predicted, and would be fixed shortly. This time the company was rather more succinct:

"Click-to-call ads with premium numbers are classified as age-appropriate and normally would not appear in apps for children. We will work with the app developer to block these ads if we discover they are showing."

Obviously free applications have to be paid for somehow, but users do not expect the cost to appear on their next mobile bill, and if AdMob can't get this fixed it's going to make Apple's iAd an increasingly attractive option. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share
Not four. Point four. Count yer booty again, Microsoft
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE
Rival electronic giant tries to iron out allegations
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.