Jan. 23, 2012 at 3:38 PM ET
It seemed like the real thing, but it wasn't, and now a knockoff of a popular photography app for the iPhone has been pulled from the App Store by Apple.
Camera+ (made by taptaptap) is one of the most highly regarded apps for the iPhone, making its camera even better than it already is by providing an image stabilizer, scene modes and other helpful features. But somehow, another app named Camera+ — which used the same app icon as the real Camera — got approved by Apple and allowed into the App Store.
Glyn Evans, founder and editor of iPhoneography, an iPhone video and photography blog, discovered the fake, and warned readers — and Apple, it seems — about it over the weekend. Apple pulled the app immediately. But the fact that it was App Store even briefly raises questions about app approval security, even though Apple's is considered among the best.
"Chances are that you don't think twice about installing software from the App Store — after all, all the software up there has been verified by 'Apple,' right?" wrote senior technology consultant Graham Cluley on Sophos' blog.
"Well, just because Apple has put in procedures to police their App Store, and — unlike the Google Android platform — pre-approve each app, doesn't mean that fake or malicious apps have never appeared."
Sophos wasn't able to get a copy of the fake app, so "we cannot confirm if it contained any malicious functionality. It is possible that the popular app's name was being taken in vain, simply in order to try to earn some money from online purchases."
The lesson for users, Cluley says, is to not be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to your own security: "As always, be careful what applications you install on your computing devices — even if they come from the Apple App Store. It's not just fake software you have to watch out for, malicious code has made it into the App Store in the past."