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Intervention by Denise Caruso Read Intervention by Denise Caruso, Executive Director of the Hybrid Vigor Silver Award Winner, 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards; Best Business Books 2007, Strategy+Business Magazine

CAN’T AFFORD BACK-TO-SCHOOL GIFTS? TRY BLACK MARKET iTUNES CARDS

by ~ August 26, 2010.
Permalink | Filed under: Hybrid Vigor, Social Trust Online.

USA Today reported on the growing trend for hackers to hijack people’s iTunes accounts:

They typically buy iTunes gift card codes, usually in $50 to $200 amounts. They then sell the codes — which can be used like cash to buy music and videos — at a steep discount, openly on the Internet.

If only these hackers could ensure their victims were from the landed class, they might be considered modern-day Robin Hoods. Alas, they’re garden variety thieves.

But what I liked about the article is that it captured the truly appalling apathetic attitude from Apple and financial institutions, who attempt to lay responsibility entirely on consumers:

Apple says there is little it can do about iTunes account hijacking. The company advises victims to change their passwords and contact their financial institution about being made whole.

Change their passwords? What good will that do? As the article points out,

iTunes logons also get stolen and sold off by hackers who spread computer infections containing keystroke loggers that capture logons as you type them.

So the hackers will capture you newly typed password, too.

Calls to your financial institution will likewise be met with a “talk-to-the-automated-hand” sort of attitude. After all, why should these guys care if you get hacked? These hackers drive up revenues by getting you to spend money that you wouldn’t have otherwise! Some economists would even argue that this kind of coerced economic activity is good for the economy!

Unfortunately, there’s very little consumers can do to protect themselves. How would you even know if you have a keylogger watching you all the time? Thanks to the lack of transparency in Windows and Mac OS, it’s difficult to tell when some rogue application is watching your every move. And of course, Apple shouldn’t be storing “credit and debit card, checking account and PayPal information” on their site. For their part, financial institutions need to come up with a better form of micro payments than opening a multi-year tab at iTunes on your personal credit card or PayPal account.

But will consumers care enough to boycott iTunes? Doubtful. So in the meantime, I recommend befriending a hacker.

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