Richard Bucker

Malware in the Apple AppStore?

Posted at — May 22, 2012

My 2 year old daughter has decided that she is going to handle the DVDs in this family.  She has already figured out how to open and close the DVD player and she knows most of her favorite DVDs on sight. The bad news is that DVDs are designed to self destruct at the hands of toddlers. That’s just the way it is.So it is under the umbrella of fair use I’ve been trying to rip my DVDs and then upload them to my Tivo for viewing… she had not figured out that remote yet.I went to the Apple AppStore and started looking for DVD rippers and there are quite a lot to choose from. Unfortunately there appears to be a clause in the developer agreement that does not always get posted on the AppStore description. The AppStore version is probably not going to rip encrypted DVDs.Many of the vendors have a general workaround for this. They let you buy their software directly through their website. This is a nice option to have except the websites I’ve been to are the same websites I would never purchase software from in the first place.And here is where the malware starts.I do not know these guys but if you look closely at many of the screenshots on the AppStore and their websites … (1) the software has remarkably similar layouts and features (2) for some reason the publishers are Asian like Li and Chen (3) some of the publisher websites are defunct (4) one publisher generated a 404 from dropbox (5) one publisher, easymac, directed me to softpedia as it’s highest search results.All of this makes be very uneasy. I know that the functionality of of all of these apps are the same because they pull from the same toolset and APIs. But the fact that the layout and icons are almost identical is just plain scary. All in all I’m starting to think that the AppStore sandbox requirement is going to be a good thing.