Apple has removed dozens of apps from its App Store after claiming that a developer had hacked iTunes accounts to inflate sales.
Developer Thuat Nguyen held 42 of the top 50 apps listed in the store’s Book category, but was found out due to a lack of reviews of his work, which was mostly in Vietnamese and said to infringe on copyrighted work, Engadget reports.
The apps had been inflated in position by unauthorized sales to hacked iTunes accounts, however the fraud was discovered after users used the review function to complain that their iTunes accounts had been compromised.
A company spokesperson alleged that Nguyen had engaged in “fraudulent purchase patterns,” WSJ reported.
One user was charged $1,400 for purchases he did not authorize, according to the NZ Herald. He said Apple refused to offer a refund, or to stop the illegal downloads.
Developer Alexandru Brie estimates the Nguyen apps had been jamming the book category for over a month, and earned the creator at least $1 million.
The case could be the tip of the iceberg, with bloggers reporting several similar scams are still running.
The iTunes store has more than 100 million accounts, many of them linked to credit cards.
Nguyen could not be contacted, the Journal said.