More than 50,000 iTunes accounts are listed on auction site TaoBao, China’s equivalent of eBay, according to new reports from AFP and the China Global Times. Potential buyers are promised unlimited access to videos, music and apps for as low as $0.10 before the account is suspended – about 12 hours on average, more than enough for a “free content” shopping spree.
Despite iTunes’ recent security improvements, after a flurry of break-ins throughout 2010, the problem is still rampant, as the number of fraudulent accounts available on TaoBao sharply increased over the last couple of months.
According to TaoBao’s representatives, the website does not plan to take the listings down for now, as they haven’t received a formal request from Apple yet.
We take all reasonable and necessary measures to protect the rights of consumers who use Taobao, of our sellers and of third-parties. [...] Until we receive a valid takedown request, we cannot take action.
Being able to purchase hacked iTunes accounts is not a novelty, as several scams targeted at iTunes users left numerous victims facing large bills for hundreds of apps and songs purchased with their accounts. Apple is taking steps to block access to hacked accounts as early as possible, but it usually takes hours before a hacked account is identified and suspended.
As a security precaution, iTunes users should periodically change their account password.