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In Russia, Apple iTunes Store Serves Up Porn

In Russia, Apple iTunes Store Serves Up Porn
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Thursday, Dec 6, 2012    Text size: 

MOSCOW — Users attempting to search for mainstream movies to watch at the iTunes store in Russia have been getting some triple-X results.

Apple, which debuted iTunes in Russia on Tuesday along with 55 other countries, apparently had been rushing to roll out the service with programmers employing "xxx.xxx" placeholders for some fields, according to the BBC.

So when some users clicked movies without images, they were greeted by explicit shots from XXX.xxx.

"If someone actually clicks on such a movie and buys it, they won't get a porn movie — they will get what was supposed to be there, a real film, but the image was just wrong," Top F Secure IT researcher Mikko Hypponen told the BBC. "It's like when you go to a real-world video rentals store and all the DVDs are there but the covers for some of them are wrong.

"It's accidental — as I understand the situation, as they were adding content, they were a bit rushed and didn't have images for every single movie cover," Hypponen said. "So for those images that they didn't have yet, they had to enter a web address — a URL — of where the image was supposed to come from, but there was no URL to put in yet — so they just put xxx.xxx thinking that they will put in a real address later."

Graham Cluley from IT security firm Sophos told the BBC it was a serious blunder by Apple.

"It's sloppy of Apple not to have tested their software thoroughly and properly before rolling it out to the masses, but it could have been much worse," he said. "If the web pages had contained malicious code, for instance, then it might have been possible for unsuspecting users to click on dangerous links or have had their computers infected by malware."

Stuart Lawley, CEO of .XXX operator ICM Registry, said Apple's snafu involved a substantial number of users because the hit count was so high.

"Traffic to XXX.xxx skyrocketed as a result," Lawley told XBIZ.

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