Updated at 2:00 p.m. Friday with response from Apple.
A Russian hacker has posted a YouTube video and accompanying instructions on how to get around having to pay for in-app purchase content in iOS apps. 9to5Mac found the video and posted a report on Friday.
The hacker, who doesn’t identify himself — but whose YouTube username is ZonD80 — says there’s no jailbreak involved. Instead, he’s done it by installing two certificates and changing the phone’s Wi-Fi settings. In the demonstration he’s using iOS 6 (the beta version) and an iPhone 4S.
9to5Mac tried his method and said it works for some apps, but not all. The video had at the time of this writing racked up fewer than 350 views, so it’s not clear that many people know about it or have even had much success with it. He also admits that the project is in its “early stages,” and he is (naturally) asking for money to keep the development going.
This will be alarming for app makers that the paywall for additional content within their apps can be circumvented, especially for those who rely on in-app purchases to make a little profit on their apps. Statistics from early 2012 indicate that almost 70 percent of the top-grossing apps on the App Store relied on in-app purchases by users.
Obviously it should be concerning to Apple as well, which is only a week removed from dealing with an App Store issue of its own making.
Apple is looking into it but doesn’t have a solution just yet. “The security of the App Store is incredibly important to us and the developer community. We take reports of fraudulent activity very seriously and we are investigating,” said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison on Friday.