Apple have had to intervene and remove hundreds of apps that breach user’s security. It turned out that an advertising company was syphoning off email addresses and contacts through a breach of security, without the developers knowledge. It was reported that more than 1 million downloads of the offending apps have taken place, in response Apple remove over 250 privacy-invading apps.
Most of the apps originated from China, with many Chinese based developers using a particular developers kit for apps, the software developer kit (SDK) called Youmi. The SDK was also used to implement advertising into the apps, which help generate revenue for those who release apps without an initial fee. With the number of apps available on the App store, a vast majority opt for an advertisement-based monetary scheme, without the need of an upfront cost, this becomes a lot more viable for new developers. It was through this advertisement that developers were not aware of the privacy breach included within Youmi.
Yom’s code was first discovered a few months back, where Perdue University spotted the malicious code which was then further investigated by SourceDNA, a research firm that discovered the first apps that made its way past Apple’s strict screening process. Since the App store was created, Apple have always maintained a strict policy on apps to be approved in order to be available for downloading. Many have criticised Apple for their stringent policies preventing many apps from being allowed to be downloaded, But on the flip side, this, until now, has prevented many poorly made apps from reaching the store, as well as any potential harmful apps.
Apple have responded by removing the offending 250 apps from the app store and ensuring that apps that use the Youmi SDK will not be cleared for release. They also issued a statement claiming that they are also working with the developers who have been affected by the offending SDK and striving to help them re-release their apps.
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