itune gift card europeGenerally, we’re pretty tuned in to events happening in the retail world. But once in a while, we find out we’ve been completely blind to something until it hits us directly. So it has been with what appears to be a massive and ongoing security breach in the iTunes store. Coupling this incident with the recent announcement by Walmart and Target that they are joining with roughly a two dozen other retailers to develop a mobile payment system has led me to write a piece that picks up where partner Nikki Baird’s piece leaves off. My short message is “Kids, don’t try this at home. Make sure something happens, but leave payment processing to the pros.”
I know the scent of a $660 billion market is intoxicating to retailers, and the notion of recouping just a single point ($6.6 billion) is nothing short of ambrosia, but there’s a whole lotta grief waiting to happen. And stellar reputations are at risk.
First, my iTunes hack story, which should help illustrate the point. I was at a party the first weekend in March and went to my iPhone to look something up. I discovered a new app had arrived on my phone that looked like the photo below.Security company Palo Alto Networks is calling the attack "the largest known Apple account theft caused by malware." Palo Alto Networks (PANW) discovered the hack along with Chinese tech group WeipTech.
The good news for most iPhone customers is that the malware, nicknamed KeyRaider, only targets "jailbroken" iPhones.
Jail - breaking allows iPhone owners to access parts of a phone's file systems that are otherwise restricted for security reasons.
KeyRaider is mostly found in Chinese websites and apps that provide software for jailbroken iPhones. But the malware has spread far beyond China, showing up in 18 countries, including the United States.
Once infected with the KeyRaider malware, a jailbroken iPhone will give up all of its owner's iTunes App Store information to the hackers, including the Apple (AAPL, Tech30) account username, password and the iPhone's unique ID. It also steals all the information about the owner's App Store purchases and prevents people from recovering their phones once they've been hijacked.
The hackers aren't keeping all that for themselves: They have allowed other people to take advantage of the stolen account information.
The hackers have uploaded software that lets other people purchase iTunes apps for "free," using the victims' accounts. About 20,000 people have downloaded the software that lets them steal from the 225,000 affected iPhone owners.Manage your devices
iTunes is also a tool for managing your iOS devices; iPhones, iPads, and iPods. You can choose what music from iTunes you want to sync to your device, as well as books, movies, TV Shows, podcasts, and more. Once you get used to how iTunes sync works with iOS it's okay, but there are some annoyances.
The main problem is that you can't quickly plug in your device and update just the music, for example. As soon as you want to sync, that means doing a backup, copying apps from your device to your Mac and so on. When you're in a hurry, and just want to stick the latest album you’ve bought on your iPhone, this is really frustrating.
Despite this, backups are effective, and when you plug in a new device, you can quickly import your backup to it without any problems.
The complete package
While some people complain that iTunes does too much and is bloated, it's still a fast, efficient, and well organised media library. The movie and TV areas feel somewhat underdeveloped compared to music, but elsewhere iTunes excels. As a place to keep your music collection, it's reliable and really useful. With the addition of Apple Music, iTunes is pretty much the complete package.