Scam children's app on App Store flips to bogus online casino for users in Turkey

Posted:
in General Discussion
An iPhone app -- now apparently pulled by Apple -- posed as a children's game while hiding an online casino for users in Turkey and other countries.

The scam app posed as a game called
The scam app posed as a game called "Jungle Runner 2k21"


The App Store game, called "Jungle Runner 2k21," appeared as a running platform game with rudimentary graphics and animations. However, iOS users running the app in Turkey-- or elsewhere with a VPN set to Turkey -- would see a web view for an online casino.

The secret casino allowed users to gamble using real money through non-Apple payment systems. FlickType developer Kosta Eleftheriou first spotted the scam app.

"This @AppStore app pretends to be a silly platformer game for children 4+," tweeted Eleftheriou, "but if I set my VPN to Turkey and relaunch it becomes an online casino that doesn't even use Apple's IAP."

This @AppStore app pretends to be a silly platformer game for children 4+, but if I set my VPN to Turkey and relaunch it becomes an online casino that doesn't even use Apple's IAP.

pic.twitter.com/crnOOF0pNi

-- Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou)


As Daring Fireball points out, the scam app's developer didn't appear to be running the online casino. However, anyone falling for the scheme would reward the fake app's developer unknowingly. The app used an embedded affiliate code to generate new-user bonuses for the culprit.

The secret casino wasn't limited to Turkey IP addresses. Other countries, including Italy and Kazakhstan, would reportedly display different online casinos for their respective locales.

Eleftheriou pointed out that the app developer also used false images to promote the app. The contrived ads show fake CNN Turk coverage about the gambling website posing as a children's app.

Fake CNN Turk coverage used to promote the casino website in disguise
Fake CNN Turk coverage used to promote the casino website in disguise


Earlier in 2021, Eleftheriou pointed out the number of scam apps on the App Store affecting his business. His claims indicated that scam apps could steal his ideas and promote themselves using his screenshots and videos. After allegedly running into roadblocks during development that let the competition get ahead, he is now suing Apple for damages.

He has since used his Twitter account to highlight other scam apps that made it into the App Store.

Apple appears to have already removed "Jungle Runner 2k21." It no longer appears in the U.S. App Store.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 2
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,603member
    So the obvious solution is to open the App Store up to even more dubious sources of software?
    This guy’s lashing out badly is he a Sweeney shill? Originally he wanted Apple to be judge, jury & executioner for ‘stolen’ IP, did anyone check his designs for prior art? I hope his claims are thoroughly investigated.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 2

    Kosta Eleftheriou is a clown. He made a mediocre app which is a keyboard hardly original and other keyboard makers made better ones and he cried to apple which rightfully they did nothing the best rise to the top now this clown is on a witch hunt. Really digging deep into other countries app stores to find apps that shouldn't have been approved then claiming apple is turning a blind eye and the App Store is full of malicious software while in reality a very very small fraction of a fraction of percent slip through the cracks much much much better than any competitor. Seriously dude you are coming off extremely scorn and childish because apple didn't take out the completion so your crappy keyboard could be the only one.

    watto_cobra
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