App Store must do more to prevent high number of fraudulent apps

Anne Freer | June 11, 2021

App Business

Around 2% of the 1,000 top-grossing apps in the Apple App Store are scams, according to a recent analysis by The Washington Post.

The apps in questions charged consumers some $48 million combined of which Apple receives a 30% cut.

In response to the Post’s findings, Apple took down two-thirds of the 18 apps.

Fred Sainz, a spokesperson for Apple, commented:

“We hold developers to high standards to keep the App Store a safe and trusted place for customers to download software, and we will always take action against apps that pose a harm to users. Apple leads the industry with practices that put the safety of our customers first, and we’ll continue learning, evolving our practices and investing the necessary resources to make sure customers are presented with the very best experience.”

The scam apps included fake VPN services and fraudulent dating apps as well as fleecewear apps that tend to charge high subscription fees and have high fraudulent ratings.

The analysis discovered 134 fleece wear apps on the App Store compared to 70 on Google’s Play Store, with earnings of $365 million and $38.5 million, respectively.

It shows just how much Apple is benefiting from the lack of competition in the app marketplace.

“Unfortunately, just by association, malevolent application developers on the AppStore have extended Apple’s circle of trust to apply to their apps quite easily,” said Setu Kulkarni, an expert at WhiteHat Security.

“Consequently, when an app is on the AppStore, the silent majority of everyday users just click and install without ever worrying about the provenance of the application. And why not? They’ve chosen to pay the high price of entry into the Apple ecosystem which touts privacy and security as some of its key benefits and differentiators.”

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