Apple Removes Scam App That Led to Hijacked Facebook Ad Accounts

Apple has removed an app that it was unknowingly hosting on the App Store that scammed Facebook advertisers and led hackers to use advertisers' ad budgets to run possibly malicious ads on Facebook's platforms, Business Insider reports.

iOS App Store General Feature Dock 2
The app previously ranked highly on the ‌App Store‌ when searching for "Facebook ads manager," the app used by advertisers to control their presence and ads they're running on the Facebook platform. The app presented itself as the legitimate ads manager for Facebook but was actually a backdoor that let hackers gain access to an account. One employee of an ad agency told Insider they were locked out of their account within just 10 minutes of downloading and logging into the app from Apple's ‌App Store‌.

Apple said that the app was originally submitted to the ‌App Store‌ as a simple document manager with no ties or functionality to the Facebook platform. Apple claimed in a statement to Insider that the app turned malicious after it was approved for the company's platform. Facebook flagged the app to Apple in mid-July, but only after Insider's request for comment to the Cupertino tech giant was the app removed from the platform.

Apple proudly states that the ‌App Store‌ is "a safe and trusted place to discover and download apps," with apps being held to the "highest standards for privacy, security, and content." Apple screens all apps before they're presented for download on the ‌App Store‌. According to the company, over 250,000 apps were rejected for the ‌App Store‌ last year for violating privacy guidelines, with an even larger 1 million apps rejected for possibly harmful and unsafe content.

Despite Apple's efforts, scam apps have remained a problem for the platform. A study last year found that 2% of the top 1000 top paid apps on the ‌App Store‌ at the time were scam apps, with those apps reportedly earning over $1 million in revenue. In a separate instance, a fake bitcoin app scammed its way to gain over $610,000 after being on Apple's platform.

Top Rated Comments

goaliemn Avatar
5 days ago at 04:58 am
You can get Malware and hacked even without side loading. Great job.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Piplodocus Avatar
5 days ago at 05:09 am
If I'm gonna load an app from the internet I'm always sure be very careful to work out where it came from and how trustworthy the developer is. If I get it from the App Store I'd presume Apple have done that for me.

So good work again Apple for saying it's far too unsafe to let people load whatever apps you like on your iPhone/iPad, and justifying the app store as the only safe way to allow them, while hosting scams again and seemingly after being flagged, doing nothing about it until the media are going to shame you. ??‍♂️
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsorcery Avatar
5 days ago at 05:16 am
"But don't worry, we are extra careful in keeping those evil emulators out of the AppStore" -Apple
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hagar Avatar
5 days ago at 05:12 am
We should be mad at the scammers, not Apple. It’s like being mad at the police because people still get murdered.

I rather have a store where 1.25M scam apps are being removed annually than no safeguards at all.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dan From Canada Avatar
5 days ago at 05:30 am
And this is from Apples famously safed app store?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spaceboi Scaphandre Avatar
5 days ago at 05:43 am

You can get Malware and hacked even without side loading. Great job.
THIS IS WHAT I KEEP TELLING PEOPLE!

Everything Apple says about sideloading is a lie to keep total control, stamping out competition, and maximize profits so there's absolutely zero reason to not have an optional sideloading toggle for those who want it.



Edit: And to those who keep disliking this post, see for yourself: Scam apps have figured out how to trick the App Store review team and it's getting worse. You are not immune to bad actors with the absence of sideloading like you think you are https://9to5mac.com/2022/08/04/fraudulent-chinese-apps-mac-app-store/
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

cook sept 2020 event

Gurman: Apple Preparing Pre-Recorded iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 Event

Sunday August 7, 2022 6:13 am PDT by
Apple has "started to record" its virtual September event, where it's expected to announce the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 8, and a new "rugged" Apple Watch model, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman says the event, which is expected to take place in the early part of September, is already under production, implying...
iPhone 14 Lineup Feature Purple

Color Options for All iPhone 14 Models: Everything We Know

Monday August 8, 2022 3:59 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are rumored to be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color. Most expectations about the iPhone 14 lineup's color options come from an unverified post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this year. Overall, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the ...
ios 16 beta 5 battery percent

iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage Now Displayed in iPhone Status Bar

Monday August 8, 2022 10:43 am PDT by
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, XS and XS Max, and...
iOS 16 battery percentage

Apple Limiting iOS 16 Beta 5 Battery Percentage Display to Select iPhones: Here Are the Supported Devices

Tuesday August 9, 2022 2:51 am PDT by
Apple this week brought back one of the most highly requested features from iOS users since the launch of the iPhone X in 2017: the ability to see your battery percentage directly in the status bar. Ever since the launch of the iPhone X with the notch, Apple has not allowed users to show their battery percentage directly in the status bar, forcing them to swipe down into Control Center to...
ios 16 battery indicator 2

Everything New in iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage in Status Bar, Find My Changes and More

Monday August 8, 2022 12:53 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of iOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, introducing some small but notable changes to the iOS operating system. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've rounded up everything new in the fifth beta below. Battery Percentage in Status Bar The battery icon in the status bar now displays the exact battery percent, a feature that ...
iphone 14 pro max camera bump compared lipilipsi 16 9

Bigger iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Bump Shown Alongside iPhone 13 Pro Max

Monday August 8, 2022 4:33 am PDT by
The camera bump on the upcoming iPhone 14 Pro Max is expected to be the largest rear lens housing Apple has ever installed on its flagship smartphones, and a new photo offers a rare glimpse at just how prominent it is compared to Apple's predecessor device. iPhone 14 Pro Max dummy (left) vs iPhone 13 Pro Max All iPhone 14 models are expected to see upgrades to the Ultra Wide camera on the...
airpods pro black background

Beyond iPhone 14: Five Apple Products Expected to Launch Later This Year

Monday August 8, 2022 9:43 am PDT by
While the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 are expected to be announced in September as usual, there are several more Apple products rumored to launch later this year, including new iPad and Mac models and more. Beyond the iPhone and Apple Watch, we've put together a list of five Apple products that are most likely to be unveiled by the end of 2022. Second-Generation AirPods Pro Apple...