On Sunday, Engadget reported an inexplicable uptick in sales of book apps by a developer identified as Thuat Nguyen. According to the blog, at the time of writing its report, Nguyen apps accounted for 42 of the top 50 books by revenue in the Books section of the iTunes App Store. Engadget went on to mention "a number of people reporting up to hundreds of dollars being spent unwillingly from their [iTunes] account to these specific books."
Blog TNW Apple reported that the phenomenon appeared to extend beyond apps by one developer, and that it seemed to be international in scope. It also ran excerpts from several posts to the MacRumors: Forums Web site.
"Yesterday my credit union contacted me saying there was suspicious activity on my debit card." TNW Apple quoted one post as saying. "Sure enough over 10 transactions in the $40-$50 area all on iTunes equaling to $558."
"Two users also indicated in the ratings for Nguyen's apps that their iTunes accounts have been hacked and purchases of those apps were made on their behalf. Up to $200 from these hacked accounts were reportedly used to buy the developer's apps," PC World's Daniel Ionescu reported.
A call made by CNET to Apple for comment was not returned by publication time, but Nguyen's apps have now disappeared from the App Store.
Nevertheless, it's probably a good time to change that iTunes password and keep a close eye on your purchase history.
Despite roaring sales for its new products, Apple has been getting a bit bruised lately. Among other things, the company's most-recent knock 'em dead gadget, the iPhone 4, has had reception problems; the company's response to the issue has been widely lampooned in the press; Apple faces a challenge from Google's Android operating system in the mobile arena; its policy regarding submissions to the iPhone App Store and its refusal to make the iPhone and iPad compatible with Adobe's widespread Flash software have been seen by some as a sign of control-freak tendencies; and the company's media policies have reportedly captured the notice of antitrust authorities.