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Pirated apps – Apple cracks down on app hackers

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Software pirates have been abusing Apple’s enterprise developer program to distribute hacked versions of popular apps and games, providing users with altered versions of popular games like Minecraft and Pokémon GO as well as ad-free versions of services like Spotify. The pirates then charge an all-inclusive “VIP” subscription to access these illegal apps.

Additionally, TechCrunch recently revealed that a host of enterprise developers were abusing their power to distribute pornography and gambling apps, the likes of which are banned from the App Store.

The enterprise program – intended to allow legitimate businesses to develop, test, and distribute in-house apps for their employees – isn’t as strictly policed as the App Store, with anyone able to join so long as they claim to be a business and pay a $299 annual fee.

Apple has always stood in opposition to these uses, which flagrantly ignore the rules of the program – but until now it has been slow to crack down on this kind of behavior. However, with Facebook and Google slapped with temporary enterprise bans just last week after being caught paying users for almost unlimited access to their devices, Apple is now turning its sights to the smaller distributors peddling these hacked and illegal apps.

As of February 27, developers must be validated with two-factor authentication – and Apple is revoking the developer certificates from anyone found to be breaking its rules in the meantime.