“Hundreds of fake retail and product apps have popped up in Apple’s App Store in recent weeks — just in time to deceive holiday shoppers,” Vindu Goel reports for The New York Times. “The counterfeiters have masqueraded as retail chains like Dollar Tree and Foot Locker, big department stores like Dillard’s and Nordstrom, online product bazaars like Zappos.com and Polyvore, and luxury-goods makers like Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo.”

“‘We’re seeing a barrage of fake apps,’ said Chris Mason, chief executive of Branding Brand, a Pittsburgh company that helps retailers build and maintain apps,” Goel reports. “He said his company constantly tracks new shopping apps, and this was the first time it had seen so many counterfeit iPhone apps emerge in a short period of time.”

“Some of them appeared to be relatively harmless — essentially junk apps that served up annoying pop-up ads, he said,” Goel reports. “But there are serious risks to using a fake app. Entering credit card information opens a customer to potential financial fraud. Some fake apps contain malware that can steal personal information or even lock the phone until the user pays a ransom. And some fakes encourage users to log in using their Facebook credentials, potentially exposing sensitive personal information.”

“The rogue apps, most of which came from developers in China, slipped through Apple’s process for reviewing every app before it is published,” Goel reports. “Apple removed hundreds of fake apps on Thursday night after The New York Times inquired about the specific app vendors that created many of them. Other apps were removed after a New York Post article last week drew attention to some of the counterfeits.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple has more work to do to clean up the mess and obviously needs to do a much better job vetting apps prior to inclusion in the App Store.

What’s the sense of having a walled garden if you allow the planting of weeds?