Feeds

Mac App Store giving away pay apps for free

Angry Birds vendor now even angrier

Seven Steps to Software Security

Security oversights mean that many of the applications in Apple's newly launched Mac App Store can easily be obtained without payment.

A significant number of developers have disregarded Apple's advice on validating App Store receipts before making their software available through the store. As a result, many applications can be pirated.

Applications bought through the store can be modified to run by any Apple user (not just restricted to a specific Apple ID, prompting users to log into an account associated with a sale) without any further purchase. The omitted App Store receipt technology would have prevented this.

Popular application Angry Birds, for example, only checks for a valid receipt (of any type) and not whether this is a receipt for a purchase of this software tied to a specified account. A receipt from any legitimate Mac App Store download - including applications that come free of charge – will allow a bootleg download of Angry Birds to run, as explained here.

As things stand, some Mac App Store developers are potentially out of pocket while Apple misses out on its percentage from legitimate software sales. The App Store, launched along with the publication of OS X 10.6.6, provides a portal for the sale of desktop Mac applications. Customers benefit because it restricts the number of firms with which they are obliged to share their payment details.

The snafu also raises concerns that applications – modified to include back doors – might be uploaded to the App Store.

"Some applications downloaded from the App Store can easily be modified to include any sort of executable code you wish," warns Sophos security consultant Chester Wisniewski. "It wouldn't surprise me to see a surge in markets for pirated applications that might just be booby-trapped to include unexpected surprises." ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.