Friday, April 15, 2022

Mac App Store Ransomware

Kosta Eleftheriou:

I didn’t think this was possible:

This App Store app [My Metronome - Tempo Keeper] immediately asks you for money and then disables the “Quit” option so that you can never close it!

And it’s been like that on the App Store for years!

Mac App Store review

The developer has grossed almost a million dollars on the App Store.

Stephen Warwick:

Users say the app forces users to pay by locking a user’s computer, with some unable to close ads or the program itself until they had paid for the service, almost akin to ransomware.

Jeff Johnson:

This developer “Music Paradise, LLC” appears to be the exact same developer as “Groove Vibes”. Registered at the same street address in Novosibirsk, Russia!

Also, both apps lock up your Mac and can’t be quit, which is what led me to investigate.

But they are catching some good developers. Jacob Eiting:

One of our employees apps just got banned from the App Store for “trying to deceive users” because we used it to test price change behavior: they created a new SKU, subscribed to it, then raised the price from $4/wk to $9/wk to get screenshots of the flow.

This must have flagged something in the App Store looking for fraudulent price increases (even though it was opt-in) and they got a notice that the app will be removed in 14 days.

They told Apple it was just a test, and that wasn’t a good enough reason for them.

It was ONE PURCHASE. That’s obviously not fraud.

Meanwhile, Disney gets a special flow for increasing the subscription price without the customer opting in.


Update (2022-04-16): See also: Hacker News.

Update (2022-04-19): Mitchell Clark:

Eleftheriou told The Verge that it “seems like this developer has experimented with various techniques over the years of preventing people from closing the paywall,” pointing us to several other apps that are still on the store with similar behavior — we’ll get to those in a moment.


Apple didn’t respond to The Verge’s request for comment about whether it was the one to take the app down, or how it passed App Review in the first place.

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Shocking! Is Apple listening?

in soviet Russia, the metronome plays you

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