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Apple has barred a developer from its App Store following reports that iTunes accounts were hacked and used to fraudulently inflate sales figures for certain applications.It emerged yesterday that 40 out of the top 50 applications in the US App Store's e-books category were from a single publisher.Suspicions were raised when a number of reviews stated that iTunes account holders did not knowingly purchase the applications, leading to speculation that the accounts had been compromised.Apple has now confirmed that Thuat Nguyen, the developer of the applications, has been barred from the App Store."Thuat Nguyen and his apps were removed from the App Store for violating the developer Program License Agreement, including fraudulent purchase patterns," said an Apple spokesman.Nguyen is a Vietnamese developer whose applications, while popular on the US App Store, were seemingly unappreciated on his native App Store.Further questions regarding the legality of the content were raised, suggesting that Apple had missed an opportunity to block the application prior to its App Store debut.Apple was quick to allay any privacy fears, saying that developers "do not receive any iTunes confidential customer data when an app is downloaded".The firm also issued a statement to calm the fears of iTunes accounts holders who may have had their accounts compromised."If your credit card or iTunes password is stolen and used on iTunes, we recommend that you contact your financial institution and inquire about cancelling the card and issuing a chargeback for any unauthorised transactions," it read.Apple also advised users to change their passwords "immediately".The advice seems to centre around shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, and it is vital that the App Store does not become home to such scams.
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