iPhone game dev accused of stealing players' phone numbers (UPDATED)

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21 Responses to “iPhone game dev accused of stealing players' phone numbers (UPDATED)”

  1. johnnyaction says:

    The Storm8 games are all very much the same game on their server just with different window dressing on the display side.

    All the games login to the server with a “GET” url string and your iphone phone number is in there as the variable named “pnum”.

    I checked all the Storm8 games installed on my Iphone and they all send my phone number.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m an app developer. I could totally see some misguided programmer thinking “this would make an excellent unique ID to ID people buy that will transfer when they upgrade phones”.

    In truth, LOTS of people don’t have the number filled out on their phone (especially jailbroken phones), which is the amusing part of all of that.

  3. christov says:

    question: Does the game send your number when you download it or when you first open it up? What if I downloaded it but never played it?

    • johnnyaction says:

      All the Storm8 game applications use your phone number every time you run the application. At least the older versions do. I haven’t checked all the most recent versions.

      I don’t think it uploads it when you first install the game but if you run it they send your phone number every time.

  4. Anonymous says:

    // not exactly a big secret
    [[NSUserDefaults standardUserDefaults] stringForKey:@”SBFormattedPhoneNumber”]

  5. Modano says:

    Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing Apple’s app approval policy is supposed to protect against?

    • jonathan29 says:

      No, that policy is to protect us grownups from naughty words and boobies, not malicious code or violations of our privacy.

    • Xenu says:

      Apple doesn’t look at the source code, they only have access to the binaries. It can be extremely tricky to guess what a program does based on the binaries.

      • johnnyaction says:

        But if Apple had merely tested it through a web debugging proxy they would have seen that the second or third thing it communicates to Storm8 is your phone number.

        Each Storm8 “application” has had many versions approved by Apple too so this must not be part of Apple’s testing process.

  6. deejayqueue says:

    I have a couple of the other similar games by Zynga, and there’s an option there to send you push, text or email (or any combination thereof) to notify you of various bits of data about your game.

    Since all the game data is hosted on their end because the game is played in real-time, I guess they’d need your phone # to send text messages and push messages to you. However, this is all optional, and you don’t have to enter your # if you don’t want to. I don’t know if that means it doesn’t get sent to them if you don’t enter it, or what.

  7. teapot says:

    HAHA is all I have to say.

    Sck sht. Yet another thing to add to my list of why iphones are not good. If you want PC functionality… BUY A PC YOU FOOLS.

    No SD/expandable memory slot is on top of the list of bad design flaws, but we all know this will be the last feature to make it to iphone so apple can keep up-selling us bigger capacity devices. No one has yet been able to give me a legitimate reason why a slot is not included, apart from money-grubbing greed on apples behalf (which is all too often).

    A zoom-less and focus-less camera has only just made it to iphones/ipods. The fanboy community went jumping for joy whilst I sat there asking why this was so great when my phone from 8+ years ago has a comparable camera.

    Please Apple, keep the consumer addicted to buying each latest version of your chinese-made crap. Cos as we all know earth’s resources are in no way finite.

    • Anonymous says:

      Malware and rouge apps, it’s not the first time this has happened to a mobile device platform, with windows mobile phones and symbian phones malware has plagued them for years, even though the marketshare has aways been such a small dent compared to the iPhone, it’s such a problem that antivirus company such as f-secure and symantic make antivirus for them. Malware and rouge apps is something that can effect any device that can run executable code from “untrused” sources.

      As for the argument that the iPhone lacks the SD card expansion, i could care less, my windows mobile phone had one and i never used it because media player sucked at playing and managing music.

      Last time i checked my last windows mobile phone and most phones lacked a camera with zoom and auto focus and that was last year. I think the only phone that i would ever use would be the ones by Sony Ericsson. And what is the point of a camera with a sensor that pails to point and shoots, i have a DSLR and a film SLR for pictures…

      • teapot says:

        “As for the argument that the iPhone lacks the SD card expansion, i could care less, my windows mobile phone had one and i never used it because media player sucked at playing and managing music.”

        …so what you have here is a problem with your particular phone… not the SD slot. I had the same thing – Samsung with SD slot – garbage (same problem with managing music). LG with SD slot – works a charm, increases my phone’s capacity by 4GB. An SD slot is useful no matter how you look at it.

        “Last time i checked my last windows mobile phone and most phones lacked a camera with zoom and auto focus and that was last year.”

        Thanks for your input, and clearly not reading my comment or thinking for yourself. Although I hate caps, I am going to use them because you seemed to miss the point the first time. THE CAMERA ON THE LATEST APPLE PRODUCTS IS NO BETTER THAN THE CAMERAS WHICH HAVE BEEN OUT FOR 8+ YEARS ON OTHER MOBILES, YET THE FANBOYS MAKE SUCH A BIG DEAL ABOUT IT.

        I think the only phone that i would ever use would be the ones by Sony Ericsson.

        What makes you think we care about your opinion? At least back it up with some reasons or specs.

        And what is the point of a camera with a sensor that pails to point and shoots, i have a DSLR and a film SLR for pictures…

        I completely agree with the concept of buying the right tool for the job, which is why I kindly point you to the first real sentence of my comment:
        Yet another thing to add to my list of why iphones are not good. If you want PC functionality… BUY A PC YOU FOOLS.

        Thanks for your irrelevant ramblings in defence of a clearly inferior product.

  8. Rob Beschizza says:

    One would think!

  9. Josefrancisco says:

    Maybe the software developers were funded by Bad money, and the only purpose of this is to get the phone from this very specific segment of the populus! to create a Vanpire cult! because is maybe part of the game! get the whole story.

  10. HaltingPoint says:

    Am I the only one thrilled that this is happening to Storm8 of all companies? I swear to god browsing the app store is so useless these days because they have 50 million differently-themed variations of the same game, with different numbers of bonus points that clutter up every single freaking Top list.

    The games are retarded and I hate how they are listed under “Free” games. If part of the game involves micropayments, it should not be labeled as free but rather “optional payments.” It is bloody impossible to find truly 100% free games that are actually good.

    Oh well, I use Appulou.us for everything now anyway so I guess it doesn’t matter anymore.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Pretty sure that’s Lynnwood, WA

  12. Anonymous says:

    There is some good info in the attached PDF if you take some time to have a read.

    You can see the source was obtained from:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgibin/blogs/ybenjamin/detail?blogid=150&entry_id=46236
    http://i-phonehome.blogspot.com/2009/08/vampires-live-iphone-appstore-top25.html
    http://i-phonehome.blogspot.com/2009/08/vampires-live-storm8s-response-round-2.html
    http://iphone-home.blogspot.com/2009/08/imobsters-iphone-appstore-top25-free.html

    What is interesting (and a bit damming for apple) is the blog author contacted Apple with the issue and Apple basically said its not our problem…

  13. Heartfruit says:

    Does anyone else see irony that an app sucking data without permission was called Vampires Live

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