Apple Pulls Russian SMS Spam App from App Store [Updated]

Earlier today, Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab reported that it had been alerted to an app available in both Apple's App Store and the Google Play store for Android that was quietly harvesting users' address book contacts and sending them to the developer's servers. The developer's systems were then sending text messages to those contacts advertising the application, with the "From" field being spoofed with the original user's mobile phone number.


The application, Find and Call, ended up primarily targeting Russian users due to its use of the Russian language in the app description, but the app was available in App Stores around the world. The report notes that while there have been previous incidents of personal information being transmitted inappropriately from App Store apps, this appears to be the first time that such information has been used in a malicious manner.

Malware in the Google Play is nothing new but it’s the first case that we’ve seen malware in the Apple App Store. It is worth mentioning that there have not been any incidents of malware inside the iOS Apple App Store since its launch 5 years ago. But the main issue here is user’s privacy again. It’s not for the first time when we see incidents related to user’s personal data and its leakage. And it’s for the first time when we have confirmed case of malicious usage of such data.

In several updates to the original post, Kaspersky Lab notes that spam invites are also being sent via email. One user was also able to get in touch with the application's author, who claims that the behavior is a bug, although the explanation certainly appears to be suspect.

It now appears that Apple has removed Find and Call from the App Store, as links to the app in the U.S. and Russian App Stores show that it is unavailable. The app did exist for some time, however, as it debuted in the App Store on June 13.

Apple has been working to limit third-party apps' access to personal data, and will be rolling out enhanced permission requirements in iOS 6 to alert users when their data is being accessed.

Update: Apple has issued a statement to The Loop acknowledging that it has pulled the app.

“The Find & Call app has been removed from the App Store due to its unauthorized use of users’ Address Book data, a violation of App Store guidelines,” an Apple representative told The Loop.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
108 months ago
I hope apple uses it's "kill switch" to delete this app from those phones that have already downloaded the app.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
108 months ago

This would never have happened if Steve Jobs was still with us. :eek:

The only way i can make it through the day without suicide is convincing myself that people like you are just trolls.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
108 months ago
The first question that pops up in my mind is; how got it in the app store in the first place.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
108 months ago

Why are people acting like there hasn't been malware on the iPhone before? About two months ago, I had malware that quietly changed whatever phone number was the top of my Favorites list to a 1-800 number I didn't recognize. Delete that entry from my Favorites list, and two seconds later, whatever the new top number was on my Favorites changed to that 1-800 number. I ended up wiping and reinstalling iOS, and the problem went away.

This started up after I got a spam SMS message.

Anybody else seen this?


Do you have a JB phone?
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
108 months ago

I hope apple uses it's "kill switch" to delete this app from those phones that have already downloaded the app.

In this case, thats a good idea. If all the app does is spam, spam, and spam, then kill it. Was this a free app? If not, they should take the money from the developer's account (if he has received it already) and return it to the people who downloaded this app.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
108 months ago
Is it just me, or is anyone else wanting to see the kill switch in action? :-P
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

Apple Distributing New Heated Display Removal Machine for iPhone 12 Repairs

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:20 pm PDT by
Apple is providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with a new heated display removal fixture for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro repairs, according to information obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source. To open iPhone 12 models, technicians will be required to slide the device into a specialized tray, and then place the tray into the high-temperature fixture for two...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

Teardown Video Confirms iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Use Same 2,815mAh Battery

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:47 am PDT by
With the iPhone 12 launching on Friday and in just a few hours to Australia and New Zealand, hands-on videos, teardowns, reviews, and other iPhone-related content has been coming out. A new teardown video delves into both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, confirming battery life for both models and giving us a closer look at their internals. The video from Io Technology is in Chinese, but ...

Images of Supposed AirPods Diagnosis Tool Shared Online

Thursday October 22, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Apple is reportedly rolling out a new tool to Apple service providers for testing AirPods, according to leaker known as "Fudge," who shared images of the tool on Twitter. Apple appears to be seeking to reduce unnecessary AirPods services by more accurately diagnosing the cause of a fault. Instances of a dirt-blockage, which may be difficult to ascertain visually, can apparently be...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Apple's AirTags Revealed in Newly Published Patent Applications

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:13 am PDT by
Two patent applications filed by Apple appear to depict the company's widely expected AirTags item trackers (via Patently Apple). The filings, which include a large number of images, are titled "Mounting Base for a Wirelessly Locatable Tag" and "Fastener with a Constrained Retention Ring," and describe a wirelessly locatable tag that can be used to determine the absolute location of an...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...