Cyber Monday and Black Friday are just around the corner, gearing up customers for another exciting round of holiday shopping. While in recent years there has been a push for more online deals to thwart past tensions with in-store shopping, consumers may want to think first before they input their credit card information into certain iPhone apps this holiday season. Counterfeit retail apps working as money laundering schemes have been discovered in Apple's App Store. According to the mobile analytics company, Branding Brand, hundreds of counterfeit apps in the Apple App Store slid past Apple's rigorous evaluation process. Branding Brand made statements to The New York Times on Sunday concluding that these apps have been falsely posing as official apps for popular retail stores such as Nordstrom and Dollar Tree, among others.
With Thanksgiving Day two weeks away and holiday shopping season rapidly approaching, the timing could not be worse for Apple or their consumers. The fake apps are an attempt by malicious developers. Many of these malicious attempts are thought to be originating from Chinese developers to take advantage of consumers growing interest in mobile device purchases. Majority of these apps have displayed pop-up ads in hopes to generate cash for advertising. On the other hand, a few of these apps have requested customers to input their credit card information with malware in place as an attempt to steal sensitive data from a personís smartphone.
It still remains a mystery as to how these apps made their way through Apple's rigorous defenses. Apple has been at the brunt of criticism over the years for their difficult App Store approval guidelines. Before an app can even make its way into the App Store, testers try them out to guarantee that they do not contain any malware, are found inoffensive, and fall in line with their regulations.