Money Matters - Simplified

50000 hacked iTunes accounts up for sale in China

The site, which is equivalent of eBay and is China'a largest online store, is selling these accounts for prices ranging from 1 yuan to 200 yuan, and assures buyers temporary access to unlimited downloads.

Beware iTunes customers, as the Apple's iTunes service has been attacked by hackers again, and one of the accounts hacked could be yours.

Unlike the last attack, when a hacker, a Wolverhampton man, gained access to accounts and used them to buy songs, this time cyber-criminals in China have stolen nearly 50,000 accounts and put them up for sale.

So far it is unclear whether the hackers directly gained access to the iTunes accounts or they first got hold of the credit cards and used those to set up fraudulent iTunes accounts.

Buyers accessing accounts
According to several media reports, these thousands of accounts, linked to stolen credit cards, are up for sale on Chinese auction website, TaoBao.

The site, which is equivalent of eBay and is China'a largest online store, is selling these accounts for prices ranging from 1 yuan to 200 yuan, and assuring buyers temporary access to unlimited downloads.

On purchasing the account, a buyer is given a username and password to iTunes, and upon accessing the account, a user's credit card details appear along with a U.S. billing address.

The buyers are told to use the accounts within 24 hours of transaction.

Xu Yuanzhi, a Chongqing-based IT expert, was quoted by China’s Global Times, “A 24-hour limit is out of concern that the legitimate user will discover his account being violated and cancel his card within this period."

Over the past few months, thousands accounts have already been sold on the site, the newspaper has reported.

TaoBao not removing listings
The Chinese auction site, which has more than 200 million users, has refused to remove the accounts, claiming that it has yet nor received a formal request to do so.

So far it is unclear whether the hackers directly gained access to the iTunes accounts or they first got hold of the credit cards and used those to set up fraudulent iTunes accounts.

In a statement the company said, "We take all reasonable and necessary measures to protect the rights of consumers who use Taobao, of our sellers and of third-parties."

"Until we receive a valid takedown request, we cannot take action.”

It added that Apple or any principal related to iTunes account has yet not said that the listings violate IP or the listing rules.

Though Apple has updated iTunes security, it has yet not commented on the fraud.