Apple prevents over 1.6 million apps from defrauding users

In 2021, Apple prevented more than 1.6 million apps and updates from defrauding users, protecting almost $1.5 billion in likely fraudulent transactions.

In addition, Apple has deactivated over 170 million fraudulent customer accounts and over 800,000 fraudulent developer accounts. It has also prevented the purchase of more than three million stolen credit cards and banned almost 600,000 accounts from transacting.

“Apple’s efforts to prevent and reduce fraud on the App Store require continuous monitoring and vigilance across multiple teams,” the company’s press release said.

In order to assess an app’s potential issues and violations, Apple utilizes the App Review, which includes human teams. In 2021, almost 35,000 apps were rejected for containing hidden or undocumented features, and another 157,000 were rejected for being spam/copycats and for misleading users.

Occasionally, developers submit apps for approval to later change their functionality as a way of bypassing safety checks. According to Apple, such apps get removed from the store upon discovery, with developers receiving a 14-day appeals process notice prior to termination. In 2021, there were 155,000 such instances.

Additionally, App Review pays close attention to user privacy requirements. In 2021, it rejected 343,000+ apps for asking for more information than necessary or misusing collected data.

“Apple’s Developer Code of Conduct makes clear that developers who engage in repeated manipulative or misleading behavior — or any other fraudulent conduct — will be removed from the Apple Developer Program,” Apple emphasizes.

The company also takes into account reviews and ratings left about apps to guide users. In 2021, Apple processed over a million ratings and reviews, removing more than 94 million reviews and over 170 million ratings “for failing to meet moderation standards.” Following user complaints, 610,000 more reviews were deleted.

Last year, Apple also blocked more than 63,500 apps on pirate storefronts, which pose as legitimate apps to distribute malicious software. An additional 3.3 million apps were blocked for being distributed illicitly through the Enterprise Developer Program meant for the internal use of big corporations.

“Offenders have sought to exploit this program in an attempt to flout App Review or involve a legitimate enterprise by compromising an insider to leak credentials needed to ship illicit content,” the press release explains.

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