By Jonathan Charles | Jul 06, 2012 01:01 PM EDT
For the first time, malware entered the iOS App Store - and also entered Google Play, the Android market - but has since been removed. How the app, which steals contacts information and spams contacts, got into the Store in the first place is questionable considering Apple's strict vetting process.
The app was "Find and Call," which asks the user to register a mobile number and e-mail address. It then steals the contact information, telling contacts to download the app - in Russian - with the original user's contact number displayed via SMS.
"The Find and Call app has been removed from the App Store due to its unauthorized use of users' address book data, a violation of App Store guidelines," Trudy Muller - an Apple spokesperson - said to tech magazine Wired.
Malicious apps have been a consistent problem in Google Play, formerly the Android Market. There has been Angry Bird clones and even calculator apps which secretly caused a user's phone to click advertisements, probably for revenue.
It seems many users fell foul of the app, though, with 1-star ratings saying the app should be pulled. The question is how do those users stop the spamming. The developer claims the spamming is a bug.
"System is in process of beta-testing. In result of failure of one of the components there is a spontaneous sending of inviting text messages. This bug is in process of fixing. SMS are sent by the system, that is why it won't affect your mobile account," the developer said to AppleInsider.ru.
Recent issues in the App Store also caused the app binaries to be corrupted, meaning apps such as read-it-later service Instapaper crash when opened. Apple has since fixed Marco Arment's - the developer's - app, but the consequences have been felt through 1-star reviews. It seems other developers are having similar problems, even offering workaround solutions while waiting for a full fix.
The App Store previously came under scrutiny for the data it shared; former Apple CEO Steve Jobs spoke at the 2010 All Things D conference on the privacy issues surrounding the iOS App Store and since February 2012 users have to be asked before sharing information. Find and Call does ask for permission, but doesn't let users know it's spamming contacts.
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