January 6, 2011

Hacked iTunes Accounts For Sale In China

State media said Thursday that hacked user accounts for Apple's iTunes Store are for sale on China's largest retail website Taobao, providing illegal access to credit card details for music and TV downloads.

Several shops are selling iTunes accounts for about $4.50, promising downloads of songs, games, movies and other products worth $30 through Apple's media store.

The Global Times reported that about 50,000 illegal iTunes accounts were being sold on Taobao.

It said that thousands of accounts have been sold over the past several months.

Taobao said in a statement to AFP on Thursday that the company took "all reasonable and necessary measures to protect the rights of consumers" and could not act unless it received a formal request to remove the ads.

"At this time, we have not received any information from Apple or any other principal related to the iTunes accounts indicating that these products either violate our listing rules or infringe on the IP of others," the company said.

Experts said that hackers either hack foreign users' iTunes accounts or steal details of overseas credit cards to register several iTunes accounts that are then put on sale.

"If your line of work is compromising Windows PCs with password-stealing Trojans, it would not take long to harvest that many accounts that you can then sell," Internet security expert Brian Krebs told AFP.

The Global Times quoted a customer service representative for one of its Taobao stores as saying:  "Of course these accounts are hacked, otherwise how could they be so cheap?"

The report said those who bought hacked accounts were encouraged to use them for 24 hours only.

Apple strengthened security measures on iTunes in July by asking users to make more frequent entries of the CCV code when making purchase from a new computer.

Apple advised users whose "credit card or iTunes password is stolen and used on iTunes" to contact their financial institution and change their iTunes password.

According to a report issued in September by Internet security firm Symantec, about two-thirds of all adult web users globally have fallen victim to some sort of cybercrime.

China had the most cybercrime victims at 83 percent, followed by India and Brazil.


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