According to an Apple Insider report published on August 9, a disturbing trend has emerged on Apple’s App Store as a series of malicious copycats of well-known Bitcoin wallet apps became available to download. Some of the fake wallets looked quite similar to the real thing but were specifically tweaked to steal bitcoins from unsuspecting users. As a result some $20,000 reportedly ended up in the pockets of scam artists before Apple was able to filter and remove the apps from its store.
The relative “success” of the fake apps and the ease at which they were manufactured and distributed, for some, calls into question Bitcoin’s almost self-evident Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) ethos. Most Bitcoin wallets have been open source, which allows anyone to verify the legitimacy of the product. But as witnessed, it also allows scam artists to effortlessly copy that same software, to make minor adjustments in order to steal funds.
At least one popular wallet, the Jaxx wallet for Bitcoin, Ethereum and most recently Dash, has employed an approach to this ”open” model that is unusual in the space. While all the code is still openly and publicly visible on Jaxx’s website,