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Movie piracy app Kimi was hiding in plain sight on Apple’s App Store

Apple has banished a movie piracy app from the App Store, which had snuck through its screening process by masquerading as a vision-testing game

The Kimi app had existed for months on the App Store with Apple believing it to be a spot-the-difference game. However, it was really harbouring the ability to illegally watch top films and tv shows.

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Wired reports movies like the Oscar-nominated Apple TV+ hit Killers of the Flower Moon was among the titles available to stream on Kimi. However, reports suggested most of the titles were of poor quality.

The true functionality was hiding in plain site and had a familiar-looking streaming interface offering thumbnails with direct links to streams of The Underdoggs, The Florida Project, The Hill and plenty more.

The app may have drawn suspicions when it rose above the likes of Netflix and Hulu in the App Store charts. Indeed, it got as high as No.8 in Apple’s entertainment app chart before Apple belatedly dropped the ban hammer.

The entire episode will be somewhat of an embarrassment for Apple, which has long prided itself on its stringent App Store review policies that are designed to protect users from phone scam-laden apps and malware.

In fact, the company made that argument a few weeks back when it pushed back against EU legislation that required it to open up to third-party app marketplaces and payment methods.

In a statement at the time Apple said: “We’ve been very clear about new threats the Digital Markets Act introduces — including increased risks for malware, fraud and scams, illicit and objectionable content, and reduced ability for Apple to respond to and remove malicious apps. The changes required by the DMA also involve new technologies and processes that are untested and may require further development.”

It’ll be harder for Apple to make the argument only it can keep iPhone users safe from app scams from this point on.

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