A few points on this "Apple hacking" story (if you haven't read it, here's a quick summary with the affected apps): 

1) IT WAS ALWAYS LIKELY TO HAPPEN AT SOME POINT.

No system is 100% safe forever, especially in the tech world. Apple still has an overwhelming record of user system safety when compared to other systems/companies, but that doesn't mean Apple is bulletproof. Anyone buying Apple products with that expectation is dreaming in technicolour. 

2) THIS ATTACK APPEARS TO BE LIMITED TO APPS SOLD/DISTRIBUTED IN THE CHINESE APPLE APPS STORE. 

The affected apps that were posted were largely as a result of Chinese developers being convinced to use a malware clone of one of Apple's main app coding programs. The evidence provided so far appears to confirm that no apps in Apple's App Store outside the Chinese markets were impacted by this hacking. 

At this time we don't know who distributed this malware clone program, but it's a very clever way of trying to plant malicious software on Apple mobile devices. All variations of hackers - government and non-government - should be considered as potential sources of the malicious code until it's proven otherwise. We can't set aside that this was pretty much a Chinese-market targeted attack, and governments (Chinese and others) are increasingly turning to very sophisticated hacking techniques to undertake surveillance and other cyber-espionage abroad/domestically.  

3) THIS IS NOT A CASE OF APPLE AND/OR APPLE'S SECURITY SOFTWARE BEING HACKED.

At no time in this event was any Apple software compromised. What happened here was someone managed to convince a number of app development companies to use a fake version of one of Apple's app development software coding programs to write their mobile apps for Apple's iOS/iPhone/iPad platforms. When the app developers created their apps, the fake version of the development software inserted abilities for the hackers to access user information on those apps (and potentially other information on the iPhones/iPads, although it's unclear at this time whether that's the case -- Apple has said it doesn't appear any user data outside of the apps was compromised.)

In effect, what appears to have happened is if you went out and bought/downloaded a pirated version of commercial software to your computer. Your computer itself is fine and at no point had a 'back door' built in by hackers, but the pirated software may have such secret access built in by hackers and will continue to allow them to access information generated on that pirated software until such secret access is detected. 

4) THIS APP HACKING WAS DETECTED IN THE FIRST PLACE BECAUSE APPLE DOES QUALITY CONTROL ON THE APPS IT ALLOWS IN THE APPLE APPS STORE.

Apple still has to answer questions of how these apps made it through it's pretty rigorous screening system for developer apps submitted for sale in its Apps Store, but it's been Apple that detected and is responding to this threat from malicious apps (malware) on its Apps Store. (It may have something to do with the fact that among the developers caught up in this scandal are some of the largest app developers for the Chinese market. Still, Apple is supposed to maintain its rigorous QA vetting of potential apps regardless of developer because malware apps can have such a huge impact on Apple's overall credibility.)

It has to be said that other mobile software platforms -- most notably Google's Android operating system -- would likely have not detected this malware as quickly as Apple did (or at all). Google's Android Apps Store is notorious for the amount of malware on the Store because Google does not do any quality control/pre-testing of apps submitted to its Apps Store on philosophical grounds. (Google holds that it shouldn't stand in the way of any app being posted to its Apps Store because it be against its philosophy of making the Android operating system an 'open sourced' (open/free access) system.) In Google's eyes, users will dictate whether an app is successful and through crowd-sourcing will identify any malicious apps to Google, which it will then remove. It's up to users to determine which system they want to use -- one that's largely very open to individual customization but equally open to the potential of hackers using it to spread malicious software (Google) or one that's based on a "walled off garden" approach where users' ability to customize their experiences is strongly controlled by the company but a strong quality control is in place so the ability of hackers to spread malware is quite limited (Apple.) It's a matter of customer choice, but it's questionable how many people using Android systems understand the exposure they are agreeing to when they purchase their devices. (Full disclosure: I fall on the "walled off garden" side of the debate, although I've owned both Android and Apple devices.) 

5) COVERAGE OF THIS "APPLE HACKING" EVENT WILL DISCLOSE MORE ABOUT THE BIASES OF JOURNALISTS, PARTICULARLY TECH JOURNALISTS, IN REGARD TO COVERING APPLE. 

Apple is weirdly one of the most divisive areas of the tech world that anyone can write about. Whether that's because of the cult of Steve Jobs, the pro- vs anti-Microsoft battles of the 1980s & 1990s or the Google - Apple battles that have been going on since the mid-00s or just the controlling manner that Apple tends to use in its media relations strategy, something about stories involving Apple cause a tribalism in journalists, bloggers and the fanboy/fangirl communities that can get really raw really quickly. 

As such, any coverage of anything Apple must be read through the filter of the biases of the journalists/writers providing the coverage. To be clear, I'm not saying that all journalists that cover this story are biased and can't be trusted. Rather, this fight has been going on too long and is too deep in the tech community not to influence how people write about it. Anyone reading stories about Apple just needs to look for how things are written and make their own minds up using multiple sources of information. 

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