Bogus Photo App Found In Apple App Store

A fake of the popular Camera+ photo app was discovered on Apple's App Store, an indication that the iPhone maker's strict approval process has holes.

IPhoneography, an iPhone photography blog, discovered the bogus app over the weekend. Apple, which does not discuss App Store security, took down the fake without explanation.

Apple controls the approval process for all apps submitted by developers. The strict rules for submission are seen by many security experts as protecting consumers better than Google's more open approach for Android apps.

While Apple must approve all apps for the iPhone, Google allows third parties to offer their own applications on web sites, making it easier for cybercriminals to distribute malware for Android. Juniper Networks reported seeing a 472 percent increase in Android malware from July through mid-November of last year.

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The latest discovery in the Apple store led at least one security expert to question how the computer maker could have approved a fake of one of the 20 best-selling apps for the smartphone. Camera+, made by the company Tap Tap Tap, boosts the performance and features of the iPhone's internal camera.

"Why didn't they notice that someone was uploading a false version of such a well-known app?" asked Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security vendor Sophos.

Tap Tap Tap acknowledged that the fake had been removed and complained on Twitter of Apple's "all too often disappointing approval process." Sophos has not been able to get a copy of the app, so it couldn't say whether it contained malware. "It is possible that the popular app's name was being taken in vain, simply in order to try to earn some money from online purchases," Cluley said Monday.

Nevertheless, the discovery means people should be careful with apps they install, whether it is on an iPhone or Android phone, the security expert said.