Apple disclosed that it rejected more than 350000 malicious apps from its App Store in 2020 and stopped more than $1.5billion in potentially fraudulent transactions.
Apple helps keep the App Store a safe and trusted place for users to discover apps by detecting and taking action against fraudulent developers and users.
It takes significant resources behind the scenes to ensure these bad actors can’t exploit users’ most sensitive information, from location to payment details.
“It’s impossible to catch every act of fraud or ill intent before it happens, Apple’s industry-leading anti-fraud efforts, security experts agree the App Store is the safest place to find and download apps.”, said Apple.
Apple Rejects Vulnerable Apps
In 2020 alone, the App Review team rejected more than 48,000 apps for containing hidden or undocumented features, and more than 150,000 apps were rejected because they were found to be spam, copycats, or misleading to users in ways such as manipulating them into making a purchase.
Apple reveals that nearly 95,000 apps were removed from the App Store for fraudulent violations, predominantly for bait-and-switch maneuvers.
They have removed apps that switched functionality after initial review to become real-money gambling apps, predatory loan issuers, and pornography hubs; used in-game signals to facilitate drug purchasing; and rewarded users for broadcasting illicit and pornographic content via video chat.
“The common reason apps are rejected is they simply ask for more user data than they need, or mishandle the data they do collect”, state Apple.
Fraudulent Ratings and Reviews
By 2020, Apple has processed over 1 billion ratings and over 100 million reviews, and over 250 million ratings and reviews were removed for not meeting moderation standards.
Apple recently deployed new tools to verify rating and review account authenticity, to analyze written reviews for signs of fraud, and to ensure that content from deactivated accounts is removed.
Apple terminated 470,000 developer accounts in 2020 and rejected an additional 205,000 developer enrollments over fraud concerns, preventing these bad actors from ever submitting an app to the store.
Despite fraudsters’ sophisticated techniques to obscure their actions, Apple’s aggressive monitoring means these accounts are terminated, on average, less than a month after they are created.
Additionally, they blocked more than 3.2 million instances of apps distributed illicitly through the Apple Developer Enterprise Program.
Payment and Credit Card Fraud
Secure payment technologies like Apple Pay and StoreKit, are used by more than 900,000 apps to sell goods and services on the App Store. Apple protected users from more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2020. “Apple works around the clock and behind the scenes to keep the App Store a safe and trusted place for users and developers alike”, Apple concluded.