Criminals have hacked into one of the computers belonging to iOS and Mac app developer Panic and have stolen a copy of the source code to a number of apps, according to blog post written by Panic’s founder Steven Frank. The theft was confirmed when one of the hackers contacted Frank by email with a sample snippet of the source code. The hacker then demanded a ransom payable in Bitcoin in return for not making the rest of the source code public.
Anyone wanting to use Panic’s apps has been warned only to download them from Apple’s App Store or from Panic’s own web site. That is because there is a danger that the criminals could inject malware into the source code to create apps that look like the genuine apps, but which would infect any device they run on. The criminals could also damage Panic’s business by releasing free, pirated copies of the apps. They could also attempt to sell the source code to a competitor who may be able to benefit from having access to it.
Frank said that the company is not going to pay the ransom. “We’re working on the assumption that there’s no point in paying — the attacker has no reason to keep their end of the bargain,” he said in the blog post. He added that since the source code is updated regularly to fix bugs and add new features, the value of the stolen source code is diminishing every day.