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Media (Apple) Media The Almighty Buck

iTunes Gift Card Key System Cracked, Exploited 388

Posted by kdawson
from the poisoning-the-currency dept.
moonbender writes "Fake but working iTunes gift cards are being sold on Chinese auction sites for a fraction of their value: 'The owner of the Taobao shop told us frankly that the gift card codes are created using key-generators. He also said that he paid money to use the hackers' service. Half a year ago, when they started the business, the price was around 320 RMB [about $47] for [a] $200 card, then more people went into this business and the price went all the way down to 18 RMB [about $2.60] per card, "but we make more money as the amount of customers is growing rapidly."' The people at Chinese market researcher Outdustry have apparently confirmed this by buying a coupon and transferring it into an iTunes account. Oops."
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iTunes Gift Card Key System Cracked, Exploited

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  • BitTorrent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:00PM (#27141693) Homepage

    It's still easier to use BitTorrent.

    • Re:BitTorrent (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:31PM (#27142131) Journal

      It's still easier to use BitTorrent.

      It's probably safer too. Bittorrent is going to be a civil matter. Exploiting a hole in Apple's POS system to get free stuff probably qualifies as fraud and would bring criminal charges.

      Random thought: Reminds me of the old days when you could create credit card "numbers" that weren't actually valid but passed the checksum test and use them to create AOL accounts. Kind of surprised that Apple wouldn't know better.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by tacarat (696339)

        Random thought: Reminds me of the old days when you could create credit card "numbers" that weren't actually valid but passed the checksum test and use them to create AOL accounts. Kind of surprised that Apple wouldn't know better.

        But the vendor said it was foolproof!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by shemp42 (1406965)
        ANyone translate for me? I need about 20 of these cards.
      • AOL caught on eventually. Compuserve never did, that I'm aware of. Free trials aplenty with a valid check digit.

    • Re:BitTorrent (Score:5, Interesting)

      by earlymon (1116185) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:53PM (#27142391) Homepage Journal

      It's still easier to use BitTorrent.

      I have no clue, access to BitTorrent, behind the Great Firewall of China. But from what I've read (horror stories) about net activities being traced and questioned, I'd use an illegal Apple Store access rather than BitTorrent.

      "Yes, Comrade Prosecutor - tell me what I did wrong ripping off the imperialists," sounds like a better defense than, "I promise I wasn't looking at porn."

      Never reward Behavior A and hope for Behavior B.

  • "but we make more money as the amount of customers is growing rapidly."

    Brilliant business model there, Taobao. I used to feel bad that Amazon's MP3 Service only worked inside the United States but now it's pretty clear: I doubt Apple will have much luck prosecuting anyone in this case whereas it would have been different had it happened on American soil.

    I'm sure the Chinese government will help protect Apple's ... hahahaha sorry, couldn't quite say that with a straight face. Seriously, we must look like ripe-for-the-picking rubes to places like China. They're sitting there with free copies of Vista, Adobe Suites and now cheap "legal" music. I guess it will forever remain a mystery to them why their nation isn't home to prosperous software & music industries while the status quo is free for the taking with no repurcussions.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:12PM (#27141891)

      The real comedy will happen when someone in China actually comes up with some IP that they want to make a buck off of. Hopefully an entire cottage industry will pop up in the rest of the world that's devoted to doing nothing but cranking out copies of whatever it is that China suddenly values, and even more hopefully that cottage industry will be named "Fuck You Chinaman, Inc.!"

      • by guydmann (1313789) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @10:29PM (#27144775)
        I agree that would be funny. But the real comedy here is that nothing is actually being stolen here. What is really happening is that a new unit of currency is being counterfeited. But that currency is backed by value in digital media, which in and of itself is ephemeral and can be obtained by other means for free. What a bizarre situation.
      • by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @11:12PM (#27145149)

        This comment is not just funny, it is silly and obviously from someone who knows nothing about China.

        For one, the Chinese themselves come up with a lot of IP. This ranges from music productions to technical innovations (yes also that, believe it or not). And yes they are copied big time, even though the Chinese government does try to enforce the protection of this IP. And yes it does so much more vigilantly than the protection of foreign IP. Mind that many US and other overseas patents are not valid in China in the first place, patents after all are limited to the countries/areas where they have been applied for and issued.

        If someone comes with a new product in China and has some success, everyone will jump on the bandwagon and make it as well. Even if there is no protected IP involved. If someone starts making plastic coffee cups for example, and makes a good buck out of it, dozens of other factories will spring up and do the same. They all copy one another.

        If you come up with some innovation in China and you really want to keep it for yourself you will have to keep it a secret. Don't tell anyone how you do it. This is why many Chinese are very reluctant to show you their production lines, and often you won't get access there at all. Taking photos of machines is also something that many Chinese really don't like. At trade shows many booths also have a no-photo-taking policy because otherwise within a few days they will find their newly designed jewellery at half the price all over the place. At their neighbour's booth for example (not joking).

        IP in China is as if there is effectively no IP. Everyone copies from everyone with impunity. There is little enforcement, and what enforcement takes place is largely showing off to the outside world, staged media events making it look like something is being done. China can as such be used as case study for what happens if IP would be abolished. And it is overall not a pretty picture.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:27PM (#27142069)
      Personally, I think that will become the downfall of our county.

      Our main products that we're making here are things that can be easily recreated at no cost. Sure, we've got laws that attempt to stop it, but many places don't.

      We've shipped most of our jobs making actual products overseas. And we wonder why China is becoming so powerful? They're making physical goods, and freely recreating our virtual goods.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Why prosecute? If you can identify the illegitimate cards, you can revoke the license to all the downloaded music. Isn't this what DRM is for?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by neil-ngc (1019290)

      I guess it probably depends on how valuable Apple's manufacturing business is to China. I'm willing to bet that iPods, laptops and pretty every other physical item in Apple's line is significant enough for them to pay attention. Some people might get disappeared.

      But really, maybe Apple has learned a lesson here. Don't just validate cards using an algorithm. Keep track of which numbers you've sold, same as a credit card issuer.

      • by torkus (1133985)

        Ah...but that costs money!

        Apple took a shortcut perhaps thinking no one would figure it out but once again 'security through obscurity' fails in a wonderfully fun way. I really don't have much sympathy for them though.

    • by SectoidRandom (87023) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @07:12PM (#27142597) Homepage

      When it comes to international copyright it is no surprise to me that across borders people are far less inclined to respect copyright laws of another country.

      It reminds me of something that I read once that stated that back in the 19th century before the US had established it's own home-grown authors and publishing industry, it was common place for Americans to simply copy and republish without consent the work of European authors and publishers. That was of course despite the constant complaints of European publishers and governments.

      Of course eventually the US publishers had grown to a position where they themselves realized that they needed copyright in order to continue growing with the now booming local literature scene, hence the "true" birth of enforced US copyright.

      (History repeating itself. Hmm, now how often does *that* ever happen - sarcasm)

      Unfortunately I have no original sources to this 'tale', I would appreciate if anyone can either confirm or deny this with some evidence, as it is such a compelling story I would like to believe that it is true!

    • If the Chinese government doesn't start some kind of law enforcement, China is going to be a giant Black Hole. Blacklisting IP blocks from Chinese ISPs is the best thing I've ever done in terms of spam and malware control.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by citizenr (871508)

      I guess it will forever remain a mystery to them why their nation isn't home to prosperous software

      WHAT?
      Guess who wrote code that runs on your Digital Picture Frame, your Camcorder, mp3 player, or your big screen LCD TV.
      Maybe you missed the story about 'Shanzai'?
      http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/27/049245&from=rss [slashdot.org]

      Wanna know how Chinese are able to go from design on a napkin to working product ready to ship in ONE month? They share, rip, mash-up, copy.
      Here is one of the sites used by Chinese Engineers/Developers to share brainpower
      http://www.pudn.com/ [pudn.com]

      There is no value in pr

  • hmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by Em Emalb (452530)

    use safari on your iPhone to buy the fake iTunes card.

    It's like curb stomping apple after you kick them in the nuts.

    More seriously, there's a good chance that if Apple does decide to change their key system that a lot of legitimate iTunes cards are gonna be rendered worthless.

    And that would suck.

    • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

      by Jon.Laslow (809215) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:07PM (#27141795) Homepage Journal
      No, kicking Apple in the nuts would be buying a fake iTunes card using MyFox on a jailbroken, unlocked iPhone 3G using a different carrier than the one the phone was sold from/for.
      • Re:Heh (Score:5, Funny)

        by Em Emalb (452530) <(ememalb) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:10PM (#27141841) Homepage Journal

        Nah, that would be feeding them to pigs after cutting them up with a chainsaw after paper cutting them to death after making them watch Mike Tyson eat their children. :-D

      • Re:Heh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Henriok (6762) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:50PM (#27142367)
        Apple would probably still make money since you a) bought an iPhone and b) solidified Apple's hold on music distribution online. Apple probably just laughed all the way to the bank, the same way Microsoft, Adobe and Autodesk are laughing all the way to the bank when their software gets distributed mer or less for free in thesemarkets. Some markets are unreachable with western prices, so if you still want to be present on them, adjust your price. Close to free, is good enough.
        • Re:Heh (Score:4, Insightful)

          by torkus (1133985) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @08:55PM (#27143801)

          Actually the hacked gift cards aren't close to free, they're negative income for Apple.

          Apple still pays a share of the purchase price of each song to the record companies regardless of the payment method. Since they're not getting the income side with hacked gift cards, it's a net loss.

          Furthermore, Apple (or the retailer, perhaps) takes an additional loss if a legitimate purchase winds up with the same card number and the user complains. I know I sure would.

          This is a HUGE problem, I'm not sure what reasonable solution they're going to come up with. Knowing Apple they'll just beat up their fanbase a little more and cancel all the GC's or something. Ok, flamebait a bit but...i could see them doing that and just hoping their market domination in MP3 sales overcomes the bad juju.

    • by Golddess (1361003)

      More seriously, there's a good chance that if Apple does decide to change their key system that a lot of legitimate iTunes cards are gonna be rendered worthless.

      Why did they even go with a system where the value of the card is written right on the card itself (even if it is encrypted), rather than one that everyone else seems to use? That is, a system where on one of Apple's servers somewhere, there resides a database with the giftcard ID and the balance of the card. Just guessing at exactly how it's done, but given that a Best Buy giftcard can be loaded up with any amount, and can be used without a magnetic reader, I think it's safe to say that the balance is no

  • Ouch. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:02PM (#27141737) Journal

    I'd be interested to know what algorithm was being used for the keycards. Did Apple use a weak scheme, did someone leak the secret, or (most interestingly) has someone managed to crack a good encryption algorithm.

    (Alas, I'd guess it's probably a weak scheme. As recently as two years ago I noticed a bike products retailer was actually using sequential codes for its gift cards)

    • Re:Ouch. (Score:5, Informative)

      by teh moges (875080) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:07PM (#27141787) Homepage
      I actually didn't think this would be possible.
      In Australia, when you buy mobile phone recharge (extra credit to make calls), you buy a coupon which is only activated after its brought from an authorized dealer. Once the code is used, that code is useless.
      It does mean that each retailer has to have some connectivity to base office, but it stomps out generating new keys as much as you want.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cowscows (103644)

        No kidding. The way this is explained makes it sound like if I pulled a stack of iTMS cards off the rack at walmart or whatever and walked out with them in my pocket, they'd all be valid and would work. I have a hard time believing that to be the case. There are hundreds of stores (both online and physical) that sell gift cards at other stores, I have a hard time believing that it doesn't generally work more like you describe, and I also have a hard time believing that Apple would have done it differently.

        U

      • Re:Ouch. (Score:5, Informative)

        by smellsofbikes (890263) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:37PM (#27142199) Journal

        >but it stomps out generating new keys as much as you want.

        Sort of. As the previous poster was alluding to, if the card numbers are generated sequentially and stored on the card, all you need to do is know your number, add about 100, put that number on your card, and wait for it to be activated so you can use it. You don't have to access the main server: you just wait for your number to show up.
        There was a neato scam running a while back where people would steal piles of seemingly useless blank gift cards, record the number off the card into a database, put them back in stores, wait a month, then try and use the number. If the card had been activated but not used (a gift card sitting in a present or a wallet somewhere) they bought what they could as fast as they could.
        I assume companies now sell entirely blank cards, that are programmed at time of sale, rather than pre-enumerated cards merely being scanned for activation.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Lehk228 (705449)
          no they still use the pre numbered cards. now they have a foil covered pin on the back but who would notice if it was missing.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by HatofPig (904660)

            At Loblaw's our President's Choice gift cards need to be peeled out of the frame they are inset into, with backing. There's no way to get anything off of the card until then. Plus the frame holds the little hole so you can hang them on the shelf.

            And phone cards all just have identical barcodes. The POS system then generates their activation code upon confirmation of payment, and prints it on their receipt.

            This is in little ol' Canada, by the way.

    • by Hyppy (74366)
      Picking nits here, but this kind of key generation is generally not considered encryption.
  • Occam's razor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:04PM (#27141755)

    Possibility 1:
    Apple doesn't use a database for cards, they use a hash even though that would be stupid.
    That hash and algorithm for arranging the data before the hash was cracked even though all the verification is done on the server and thus there is no code out there to reverse-engineer.
    Someone is generating and selling cards using that hash.

    Possibility 2:
    Someone is simply buying the largest email iTMS gift certificate allowed (I checked) with fake or stolen credit card numbers.

    Possibility 1 is possible but unlikely.
    Possibility 2 is very common, very easy and very likely.

    Occam's Razor says people likely people are jumping to an unwarranted conclusion here.

    • heh

      http://xkcd.com/538/ [xkcd.com]

    • Re:Occam's razor (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:23PM (#27142011)
      They HAVE to keep a database for the cards anyway, to keep track of every code that has already been used (can't have you using the same gift card twice now, can they?) How much harder could it be to keep track of every code that has actually been sold? But even then, there is a window of opportunity: if someone can guess your code between the time it is activated and the time you use it, then they've got your gift certificate and you don't. (This really IS stealing.) My advice to anyone who gets a gift certificate would be to use it as soon as possible. Personally, I feel gift certificates are stupid anyway -- why give somebody the equivalent of cash that can only be used at one store and which becomes worthless if that store declares bankruptcy, when you could just as easily give them cash, or a money order, or a check, or any number of other instruments that could be redeemed anywhere. I once received a gift certificate in a Christmas card that was delivered accidentally to my address, and I was able to go ahead and use it. Couldn't have done that with a check or money order, could I?
      • Re:Occam's razor (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:30PM (#27142107)

        I once received a gift certificate in a Christmas card that was delivered accidentally to my address, and I was able to go ahead and use it.

        You just admitted to comitting a Federal crime, son, and a Felony at that. If I were you, I'd shut the hell up and never mention your this "freebie" to anybody.

        • by Locke2005 (849178)
          I said I was _able_ to go ahead and use it; I didn't say I _did_ go ahead and use it.
          • Re:Occam's razor (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Sheafification (1205046) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @08:33PM (#27143545)

            I said I was _able_ to go ahead and use it; I didn't say I _did_ go ahead and use it.

            That's irrelevant. Based on the fact that you knew it was a Christmas card with a gift certificate in it the GP inferred that you opened the mail which was not addressed to you. Which is a no no [cornell.edu] (last paragraph).

        • by schmiddy (599730) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @10:44PM (#27144895) Homepage Journal

          You just admitted to comitting a Federal crime, son, and a Felony at that.

          Mail fraud? Pssh. That's small potatoes. Back in my wilder days, I once kept the NYPD busy with various bomb threats, including a real bomb set off in a subway station near the NY Fed.

          While the police were on a wild goose chase, my team of vaguely Germanic-sounding villains drove a dozen stolen dump trucks into the basement of the bullion repository in the basement of the Federal Reserve, loaded them up, and drove away with over $100 Billion worth of gold. How's that for admitting a felony online?

      • by jimicus (737525)

        why give somebody the equivalent of cash that can only be used at one store and which becomes worthless if that store declares bankruptcy

        I think a lot of people are asking the same question over here in the UK right now. Over the Christmas/new year period, a number of companies which operated gift vouchers went out of business.

      • by shird (566377)

        They don't have to keep a database of those used. They can just keep a counter, and allocate out ranges to other stores etc. Just like MAC addresses - all addresses are valid, but there is no central db and nobody keeping a db of all allocated, just a db of ranges and a counter. They would only need to track the use of a card on its first use.

      • by joebok (457904) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:45PM (#27142303) Homepage Journal

        ... I once received a gift certificate in a Christmas card that was delivered accidentally to my address, and I was able to go ahead and use it. ...

        I think that is a crime. If not, it certainly makes you a jerk.

        • by Locke2005 (849178)
          Not as much of a jerk as all the people buying these bootleg iTMS gift certificates... the card had an incorrect address on it which was undeliverable to... so I should have just thrown it away?
      • At least you can't spend it on drink...

      • No, you couldn't spend a $25 cheque right away. Mind you, you could drain the sender's account [perimetergrid.com] with it.

      • Re:Occam's razor (Score:5, Insightful)

        by porcupine8 (816071) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @08:19PM (#27143383) Journal
        why give somebody the equivalent of cash that can only be used at one store and which becomes worthless if that store declares bankruptcy, when you could just as easily give them cash, or a money order, or a check, or any number of other instruments that could be redeemed anywhere.

        Maybe because they'd prefer to get a gift card? When I get cash, I feel like I need to put it in savings, use it responsibly, etc etc. A gift card to a restaurant or store I like to buy fun stuff in is permission to have fun with it. If you're giving them a gift with the intention of them having fun, a gift card says that clearly. Of course, not everyone feels the same way I do, but part of the point of giving one gift over another is knowing which one the receiver would like most to receive, rather than just which one you'd rather give...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by IonOtter (629215)

        I once received a gift certificate in a Christmas card that was delivered accidentally to my address, and I was able to go ahead and use it.

        Well that explains where my sister's gift card to Victoria's Secret went?

    • Possibility 1: Apple doesn't use a database for cards, they use a hash even though that would be stupid. That hash and algorithm for arranging the data before the hash was cracked even though all the verification is done on the server and thus there is no code out there to reverse-engineer. Someone is generating and selling cards using that hash.

      Let's assume that Apple cryptographers are at least half way competent.

      You could use Brand's eCash scheme in this situation. But, since Apple plays the role of both the Shop and the Bank in this scheme, you can do some simplification. So, what's the specification of this hash?

      • It should be easy for Apple (the holder of some secret key) to generate valid gift certificates, of any amount
      • It should be difficult for anyone else to generate valid certificates (of any amount)
      • It should be easy for anyone to verify the validity of a certificate.

      I think the simple solution is for Apple to generate unique strings (either random, or increasing integers) and sign them using some signature system, concatenating the value onto the plaintext.

      To redeem a certificate, Apple checks that it hasn't been redeemed before, then stores in its database that it has been redeemed. For compactness using increasing integers, store that "all integers less that n have been redeemed".

      Everyone knows Apple's public key and can verify the certificate. Only Apple knows the private key necessary to create certificates. Apple knows its own public key so it can verify certificates. It also knows to only accept each certificate once.

      I'd guess that if I can cook this up in five minutes, Apple can afford hiring someone who can cook it up at least once during their development cycle (I'm not that leet :p).

      (proof of security in the universal composability model is coming straight away; that's called proof by forward reference and it works great in the cookies)

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That check won't work for integers - people won't redeem cards sequentially.

        • people won't redeem cards sequentially.

          I should have made it more obvious that by my design, that's just a compression hack that you can apply to the extent possible.

          As an example, you'd store the list "everything less than one million; one million and five; one million, two thousand and twenty-three; ...".

          It's Big Oh of whatever, but it works fine in practice ;-)

    • by wdavies (163941)

      Third possibility:

      Someone is duping the numbers, and only one person out of N will get the cheap music.

    • Re:Occam's razor (Score:5, Informative)

      by plover (150551) * on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @07:05PM (#27142523) Homepage Journal

      Well, I personally know that InComm [incomm.com] is an authorizer to companies that sell iTunes cards at retail, and that unactivated cards have no value. No algorithm is used for those cards, other than the non-sequential generator (to prevent my_card_number+1 fraud.)

      But I also know that TFA claims that an algorithm is broken allowing for virtually unlimited generation of cards.

      So either TFA is either wrong or deliberately lying (improbable, but not impossible) or both the algorithm and on-line methods are being used by iTunes (neither particularly odd nor improbable.)

      It's not an XOR situation.

    • I think it may even be simpler. I went to the site and, though I couldn't understand the language, it seemed as though you had to buy the iTMS certificate with a credit card! So all they have to do is use your card (or in the more elaborate scenario a previous idiot's card) to buy your gift certificate. And they buy whatever else they want with it.
  • Invalidated (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Norsefire (1494323) * on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:06PM (#27141769) Journal
    The other side to this is that when a legitimate customer buys a card that's code has already been found using a keygen their card won't work, I hope Apple has a refund system. The joys of security through obscurity in action.
  • Where can I buy them?

  • by blhack (921171)

    Any lawyers in here wanna weigh in on this?

    If I were to buy some of these giftcards, apple could absolutely terminate my account, I would expect that, but am I breaking any laws? This doesn't seem to be "breaking in" to anything (although I'm sure a judge would see it that way) so is it still considered some sort of cyber-trespass?

    Doesn't this fall in to the same category as "the vending machine gave me an extra candy bar. I told the maintenance guy, but he didn't care". What if you even went as far as t

    • Re:Huh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ledow (319597) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @07:19PM (#27142683) Homepage

      In UK law, at least, which is what 90% of the world base their law systems on:

      Very simple. It's fraud. They are *fake* cards, issued by a forger. Thus, you can be charged with fraud, or similar offences. Possibly even handling stolen/counterfeit goods, *whether you knew they were fake or not*! It's no different to faking a cheque, or a credit card. In the US, crossing state boundaries with such things can be a federal offence, so if you're not in the same state as the Apple store, it gets even worse.

      If you have the *suspicion* that they are fraudulent and / or a reasonable person would suspect them to be fraudulent (by the *court's* definition of reasonable, not yours), you can quite easily be convicted for fraud, or facilitating fraud, or breach of contract (technically a bad cheque is breach of contract and by trying to pass off this card with a retailer, you are saying that it is genuine, hence the sale could be seen as a breach of contract once they find out the money doesn't actually exist - thus they can happily charge you with fraud for the transaction AND breach of contract for failing to pay for the goods another way). It would *not* be as simple as "I just got them from some website." If a reasonable person would have had suspicions, you can *easily* be convicted - it's like saying that this gentleman knocked on the door selling an expensive in-car audio system with the wires cut and dangling, for a pittance. Whether you thought he was genuine or not, you SHOULD have known that he wasn't (just by the price, if nothing else), thus you can be found complicit in the fraud.

      Notification of the breach would certainly work in your favour but isn't an automatic get-out clause. Chances are they would pass it over but ask at which point you became suspicious, where you got it from etc. and expect you to co-operate fully. Don't and those fraud charges pop up but now they know exactly who to aim them at... you.

      Cyber-nothing. It's fraud, plain and simple, no better than making up credit card numbers and using them to buy things on Amazon. You're not the rightful keeper of any funds that you do manage to get authorized, so you're into theft (if someone can prove that *they* were entitled to the number on the card you used), fraud and maybe even counterfeiting if you can't point out where you got them from. Now, considering that Apple are both the issuer AND the recipient of the cards in question, they have a very good reason to prosecute. You've effectively stolen a credit card and then used it to pay your other Visa bill.

    • by Nuskrad (740518)
      In the UK, I would suspect using one of these cards would class as an offence under Section 3 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 [statutelaw.gov.uk], or more broadly under sections 2 and 6 of the Fraud Act 2006 [opsi.gov.uk]
  • What's the point? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @06:39PM (#27142229) Homepage

    If they're going to pirate, why do they bother paying $2 to a crook to get music with DRM which they could get for free from BitTorrent? The only advantage iTunes has over piracy is that it is legal - so what's the point of ripping them off with a fake gift card?

    Even ethically, that way they'd at least not be supporting the criminal industry like the RIAA is (in this case accurately) claiming.

  • is apple doing even offering a $200 gift card. It seems to me to be an open invitation to fraud.
  • don't worry . . .they're buying fake Apple products.
    Everyone Chinese wins!
  • Too wordy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Fake but working iTunes gift cards

    Yes, we have a word for that. The word is counterfeit.

    I'll use it in a sentence for you:

    "The RIAA attempts to convince the public that downloading music is the same as counterfeiting CD's."

  • Apple will get all their money back, the cards will be strengthened and best of all, greedy stupid people are going to jail over this and removed from our internet!

    Win-win!

RADIO SHACK LEVEL II BASIC READY >_

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