Apple has confirmed that it has banned Vietnamese developer Thuat Nguyen's apps from the App Store after "fraudulent purchase patterns".
Nguyen, at one point, occupied 42 of the top 50 "book" apps in the App Store.
There had been complaints by iTunes users that their accounts had been used to buy Nguyen's apps without their permission. And whilst Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller confirmed to the NY Times that around 400 accounts had been affected, she ruled out any hacking into Apple's e-retail service.
“There was no hack into iTunes,” she said.
A Financial Times report suggests that Nguyen may have made up to $1 million out of this scam and they also quote an independent developer who criticises Apple for being slow to act on the matter.
Officially Apple has released the following statement, telling people that iTunes data is never compromised and advising people who may have been affected to contact their banks:
"Developers do not receive any iTunes confidential customer data when an app is downloaded.
"If your credit card or iTunes password is stolen and used on iTunes we recommend that you contact your financial institution and inquire about cancelling the card and issuing a chargeback for any unauthorized transactions. We also recommend that you change your iTunes account password immediately".
Hmmmm. Sounds a bit fishy to us - 400 accounts used without users' permission and with no hacking?
How did Nguyen, or whoever orchestrated the rogue app purchases, get iTunes user data then? A leaked memo? An insider?
However it happened, it looks like Apple dropped the ball on this one.