Apps make our lives a lot more efficient, fun and they can also be extremely helpful — like helping match you with your perfect lipstick color? Yes, please. But sometimes when people don’t follow the rules, serious security violations can happen. In scary app world news today, Apple has deleted and banned 256 apps that were illegally collecting user info. The most terrifying part? A lot of the app developers had no idea their apps were storing user info illegally. The source of this rule-skirting is actually a Chinese advertising company called Youmi. A lot of the app developers used Youmi’s software development kit in order to show ads on their apps.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, what they were unaware of was that Youmi had hidden illegal code into their SDK that was storing and sending back to their servers sensitive user info like emails address, iPhone serial numbers and even a list of installed apps on the phone. That is a huge no no in the regulations set forth by Apple.
Even Apple missed the code. The way Youmi’s software was designed, it was deliberately concealed. Thankfully, SourceDNA uncovered the serious privacy violation and the apps were removed on Monday, but not after these apps had already garnered approximately one million downloads. Yikes.
While no list of the 256 apps has been released, rest assured that even if you already have one of these apps on your phone, you can still access the app, it will just no longer be able to update. Until the developers figure out how to remove the Youmi devkit from their apps, their apps are not allowed back in the app store. Apple is working with them to figure out how to help these app developers get their work relisted. “This is a violation of our security and privacy guidelines,” Apple said in the statement they released regarding the security infringement. “The apps using Youmi’s SDK will be removed from the App Store and any new apps submitted to the App Store using this SDK will be rejected.”
Download with care, everyone.
What do you think of this Apple news? Will you think twice before downloading? Tell us in the comments below!
(h/t CNN Money, photo via John Gress/Getty +Chip Somodevilla/Getty)