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For sale: 50,000 compromised iTunes accounts

Music and movies for pennies on the dollar

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Users of a Chinese auction site are brazenly selling access to compromised iTunes accounts that offer downloads of movies and music for pennies on the dollar.

According to China's Global Times, about 50,000 pillaged iTunes accounts were up for sale on Taobao.com for as little as $5. Access to thousands of accounts has already been sold, the publication said.

Many of the offers recommend buyers use the accounts in the 12 hours immediately after the sale, presumably because the legitimate owners will catch wind of the compromise once purchases are charged to their credit cards. They also contain disclaimers from Taobao stating that the website, China's answer to eBay, isn't responsible for the items sold and can't vouch for their authenticity. In a statement sent to AFP, the online auctioneer said it wouldn't crack down on the sales until it received a formal request to do so.

It's not the first time accounts belonging to Apple users have been targeted. In July, Cupertino revamped security measures on the online store and urged users who suspected fraud to change their passwords and contact their financial institution. In 2008, several hundred MobileMe users were snared in a phishing scam that siphoned names, addresses, birth dates, email addresses and credit card numbers and sold them in underground identity theft markets.

Apple issued a statement to ITWorld that said the company is “always working to enhance account security” but outlined no action taken so far against the iTunes pillagers. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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