Hacker Releases Tools for Bypassing Apple's In App Purchase Mechanism [Updated]

As noted by 9to5Mac, a Russian hacker has developed a relatively simple method to allow users to bypass Apple's In App Purchase mechanism on many iOS apps, allowing users to obtain the content for free.

in app purchase hack confirm
Alternate In App Purchase confirmation button seen on hacked devices

The method, which does not require jailbreaking, involves installing a pair of certificates on the user's device and then using a custom DNS entry. Users can then perform in-app purchases as usual and automatically be redirected through the hacked system.


Aside from the obvious impact that the hack involves theft of content from developers, the method also poses risks to those using the hack, as some of their own information is transmitted to the hacker's servers during the purchasing process. For both of those reasons, users are strongly advised not to pursue the method.

The hacker has already been evicted from his original host and had reportedly moved to a new one, but the site is currently down. It is unclear whether it is down simply due to high traffic or if other steps are being taken to hinder his activities.

Developers can prevent the hack from working with their apps by implementing validation of In App Purchase receipts, something many developers have not included in their apps.

Update: The Next Web takes a closer look at the method developed by Alexey Borodin, which actually can not be prevented simply by employing receipt validation.

All Borodin’s service needs is a single donated receipt, which it can then use to authenticate anyone’s purchase requests. Many of those receipts have been donated by Borodin himself, who has spent several hundred dollars on in-app purchases testing and generating receipts. [...]

Because the bypass emulates the receipt verification server on the App Store, the app treats it as an official communication, period.

Addressing the issue will ultimately require changes by Apple, which could enhance the API used for In App Purchases to provide for uniquely signed receipts that could not be duplicated on a mass basis as with Borodin's service.

The Next Web also interviewed Borodin, who noted that he has turned over operation of the site to a third party in order to avoid trouble and will be deleting any information he obtained from running the operation. According to Borodin, over 30,000 in-app transactions were made through his service, and he netted just $6.78 in PayPal donations to help with his costs.

Update 2: Macworld also chatted with Borodin, who noted that he can indeed see users' App Store account names and passwords, as they are transmitted in clear text as part of the In App Purchase process.

“I can see the Apple ID and password,” for accounts that try the hack, Borodin told Macworld. “But not the credit card information.” Borodin said that he was “shocked” that passwords were passed in plain text and not encrypted.

According to [developer Marco] Tabini, though, “Apple presumes it’s talking to its own server with a valid security certificate.” But that was clearly a mistake—“This is entirely Apple’s fault,” Tabini added.

Update 3: Apple has issued a brief statement to The Loop acknowledging that it is aware of and investigating the issue.

“The security of the App Store is incredibly important to us and the developer community, Natalie Harrison, told The Loop. “We take reports of fraudulent activity very seriously and we are investigating.”

Top Rated Comments

lannisters4life Avatar
115 months ago
Why would you report this on the front page? If it were in the forums it would have been closed instantly.
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
troop231 Avatar
115 months ago
This button looks scary
Score: 63 Votes (Like | Disagree)
-Ryan- Avatar
115 months ago
Yeah free advertisement for hack sites
I agree. Macrumors ought to report this news as it is of relevance to both users of iOS and app developers, but effectively linking to the site on multiple ocassions is just wrong. The lack of sensitivity in this post is astounding.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jordanhuxley Avatar
115 months ago
Many games have ridiculous in app purchases. Its ludicrous to charge tens of pounds/dollars for a few extra coins.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnparjr Avatar
115 months ago
Yeah free advertisement for hack sites
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HarryKeogh Avatar
115 months ago
Thank goodness! Paying a whole $0.99 for a quality app and supporting developers and not being a dirtbag crook was just killing me!
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

april 2021 event coverage feature

Apple Event Live Coverage: New iPads, AirTags, and More Expected [Event Over]

Tuesday April 20, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Spring Loaded" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut updated iPad models and perhaps some other hardware such as AirTags or iMac models based on Apple silicon. Apple is providing a live video stream on its website, on YouTube, and in the company's TV app across its platforms. We will also be updating this article with live blog...
m1 imac colors

Apple Announces Redesigned iMac With M1 Chip and Seven Color Options

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has announced a new, redesigned 24-inch iMac, featuring an M1 chip, a 4.5K display, and a range of color options, as well as an improved cooling system, front-facing camera, speaker system, microphones, power connector, and peripherals. The new iMac features a completely new compact design, and comes in a range of seven striking colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple,...
duan rui iphone 12 13 notch

New Images Show Smaller iPhone 13 Notch Compared to iPhone 12

Saturday April 17, 2021 11:38 pm PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has shared more images that could give us our best look yet at Apple's redesigned notch for the iPhone 13. The new pictures follow similar images shared by the leaker last week, but the latest shots include a comparison with the existing iPhone 12 notch. DuanRui posted three images on Twitter that apparently originate from Weibo, although source details remain...
Top Stories 57 Feature

Top Stories: Apple Event Next Tuesday, Mini-LED iPad Pro, iPhone Rumors

Saturday April 17, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
It feels like we've been waiting forever for new Apple products, but the wait is almost over as Apple has announced a media event for next Tuesday, so make sure to tune into MacRumors for full coverage of everything Apple announces. While that was the big news this week, we also got some new details on Apple's iPhone plans for 2022 and 2023 courtesy of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and we also saw...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Launching iPhone 12 and 12 Mini in New Purple Color on April 30

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in a new purple color starting April 30, with pre-orders starting this Friday. Apple is also releasing a new MagSafe Leather Case and Leather Sleeve in Deep Violet, a Silicone Case in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, or Amethyst, and a Leather Wallet in Arizona, all available to order beginning today. iPhone...
f1618938547

Apple Announces AirTag Tracking Devices Starting At $29 Each

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today announced AirTag, a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app. AirTags are accessories for attaching to backpacks, luggage, and other items. Any U1 device like the iPhone 12 can be used for precision finding to guide you right to the item you're looking...
iPad Pro

New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Will Be 0.5mm Thicker to Accommodate Mini-LED Display

Monday April 19, 2021 11:30 am PDT by
The upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be thicker than the previous-generation version, likely due to the inclusion of the mini-LED display. We've heard several rumors about the change in thickness, and now leaked design images have confirmed it. A source that designs accessories for Apple devices sent MacRumors a series of photos that feature exact dimensions for the new iPad Pro models, and...
ipad pro with m1 chip

Apple Introduces Next-Generation iPad Pro With M1 Chip, Thunderbolt, 5G, XDR Display, and More

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:40 am PDT by
Apple today announced the next-generation iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, Thunderbolt and USB4 support, 5G connectivity on cellular models with mmWave support in the United States, and more. With an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, Apple says the M1 chip in the new iPad Pro provides up to 50% faster performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to the A12Z Bionic chip ...
iPad Pro Feature Orange

Wedbush Analysts Say 'Spring Loaded' Event Will Debut New iPads With 'Modest Price Increase,' Along With 'a Few Surprises'

Monday April 19, 2021 6:37 am PDT by
Apple is planning to launch a new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Pro at its "Spring Loaded" event tomorrow, along with "a few surprises," according to Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe explained that the iPad will be the main focus of Apple's "Spring Loaded" event, with new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and ...
flat imac 3d 3 teal

Reliable Leaker Hints Redesigned Colorful iMac to Debut at 'Spring Loaded' Event

Saturday April 17, 2021 4:43 am PDT by
Reliable leaker known as l0vetodream has hinted that Apple may debut its rumored redesigned and colorful iMac at its "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20. In a tweet, the leaker posted an image of Apple's logo used for marketing the upcoming event and an image of the retro rainbow Apple logo alongside the colorful lineup of G3 iMacs. Apple leaker Jon Prosser previously reported that...