Chinese crackers have reportedly cracked the iTunes gift card system.
The hack has spawned an active trade in counterfeit but functional iTunes vouchers on Chinese auction sites, such as Taobao.com.
As the trade has grown over the last six months or so prices have fallen from around $47 for a $200 card to 18RMB ($2.60). Music industry consultancy Outdustry confirmed that the counterfeit coupons work by buying a voucher and transferring the illegitimate credit into an iTunes account.
The fake gift card codes are reportedly created using key generators, an approach previously applied to Windows activation hacks.
"All the seller actually sells is the gift voucher code which they send you directly through Taobao’s IM software. You can then redeem the card in your iTunes account," Outdustry reports.
The market research agency notes that thousands of cards are up for sale at any time.
Apple is yet to comment on the issue. A fix for the problem might prove problematic because adjusting the key generation algorithm might invalidate genuine gift cards. It's unclear if the illegitimate trade has surfaced outside the PRC. ®