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Man Blames Apple for $600K Bitcoin Theft

Scam cryptocurrency app was downloaded from the 'trusted' App Store
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2021 7:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – Apple says its App Store is "the world's most trusted marketplace for apps," where each submission is carefully reviewed. Still, one app on iOS was able to steal $1.6 million in bitcoin from at least five people, reports the Washington Post. On Feb. 1, Phillipe Christodoulou had downloaded a highly-rated app that appeared to be connected to a company that makes hardware wallets, which people use to secure their cryptocurrencies. It included the company name, Trezor, and its padlock logo. But when Christodoulou typed in his credentials, his life savings—17.1 bitcoin worth $600,000 at the time—vanished. The app Christodoulou had downloaded was a fake, completely unconnected to Trezor. Coinfirm, a company that conducts fraud investigations related to cryptocurrency, says five iOS users reported total losses worth $1.6 million, per the Post.

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Coinfirm also found three reports of fake Trezor apps on Android where total losses were $600,000. The apps had been downloaded 1,000 times each on iOS and Android. But it's alarming that the fake app appeared on the App Store as Apple says user trust is at its foundation. For Christodoulou, who hoped to save his suffering dry-cleaning business, that trust has gone with his bitcoin. "Apple doesn't deserve to get away with this," he tells the Post. Apple says the fake app was approved in January as one that would encrypt iPhone files, but it later transformed into a phishing app. This apparently isn't so rare; Apple says it removed 6,500 apps for "hidden or undocumented features" in 2020, per Apple Insider. Apple deleted the fake app on Feb. 3, after Christodoulou and Trezor complained. But Christodoulou says a version quickly reappeared and had to be deleted again. (Read more apps stories.)

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