Cond√® Nast are scrambling to plug a hole in their iPad magazine-subscription apps that let users download their publications (including Wired and The New Yorker) for free.
An Italian hacking group known as Dark Apples took credit for the exploit, which they tested on similar newspaper apps in their home country:
All a moderately-skilled iPad user has to do is connect the iPad to his laptop, search inside the iPad files with a common managing software (we used iPhone Explorer), copy the .plist file that manage the download information and correct a single field. This boils down to changing a single word: Where it says "purchasable" you write "viewable" instead, and copy back the file on the iPad. Now all you need to do is click on "delete" the magazine issue on the iPad app and a "download" button will appear instead of the "buy" button. It means you can download the magazine for free.
(Kids, DON'T try this at home!)
Turns out Adobe is at the center of the controversy: the software tools they provided to Cond√® Nast also contain the software flaw. Adobe promised a software fix to their Digital Content Viewer, which the publications were scheduled to receive on October 8. To date, the bug has not been fixed, but that doesn't mean a software upgrade at the user end isn't imminent.