iTunes hack widespread, and Apple appears to know about it

Since Betanews' original report last Wednesday, dozens of readers have e-mailed their own reports of account issues, most dealing with Sega's Kingdom Conquest. Some of these initial reports were detailed in a followup to our original piece, but we have received more since then.

(Betanews is still actively collecting reports. If you've been hacked, whether it's Kingdom Conquest or not, we'd like to know. Send your reports to ed at edoswald dot com.)

From the reports a pattern is emerging. Nearly every victim had a gift card balance on their account, and some have reported that their credit card and/or payment information had been removed from their account. This indicates that Apple likely is aware of the attacks, and is actively trying to protect its users.

In all cases, whether they're admitting the hack is occurring or not, users are having little trouble getting their money refunded to them.

"My credit card on file info had also been either removed or something else which makes me wonder if Apple, at this point, is somehow trying to keep this ongoing issue from charging credit cards… but maybe that's just positive thinking," reader Amy Buro speculated. She might be right.

Yet, Apple has still failed to respond to requests by Betanews to confirm the issue. The fact that reports have become so numerous in the wake of our stories seems to indicate a widespread hack has indeed occurred with iTunes, yet it is still unclear as to what exactly the cause is.

"I got hacked too. Spent my graduation money on app gift cards on sale at Target and am left with nothing," reader Lauren Boyer mused. "I'm not a novice and I check regularly for virus, trojans, etc.," Enrique Zepeda wrote in. "What shall we do now? There hasn't been an official response from Apple?"

Not addressing the matter may make things worse for Apple, as users become wary of security on iTunes. "I hope this is sorted out and am now extremely wary of putting any credit at all on my iTunes account," reader Natasha Ung said. "I may have to now purchase from other companies."

The time may have come for Apple to come clean about what's going on. If it can not engender a feeling of security for its users affected by this issue, how can myself and other users ever trust to use iTunes again?

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