Apple has announced that the complexity and scale of cybersecurity threats in apps is increasing day by day, so it has a strict review policy aimed at restricting the publishing of malicious apps to the App Store. An important part of this process is the App Review team, which uses the App Store’s guidelines to approve or reject apps from various developers. These guidelines are also frequently updated given the ever-evolving threat landscape.
To that end, the App Review team helped 180,000 developers launch their apps in 2020, while more than one million new apps and one million updates were rejected because they didn’t work as advertised or didn’t have mechanisms to monitor and moderate user-created content.
Of these apps, 48,000 were rejected for containing undocumented capabilities, while 150,000 were rejected for being counterfeit or containing features that defraud users into purchasing. 95,000 apps have been removed from the App Store for using bait-and-switch tactics. Finally, 215,000 apps misused consumer data.
Another core component of the App Store is the rating and rating system that many users use to decide which apps to download and buy. Apple used a combination of artificial intelligence and humans to review over a billion ratings and reviews in 2020, which allowed almost 250 million to be removed for not meeting Apple standards.
When it comes to account fraud, Apple terminated 470,000 developer contracts in 2020 and rejected 205,000 new registrations on suspicion of fraud. On average, Apple detects and terminates fake developer accounts within a month of signing up. The company also boasted that Apple has found and blocked nearly 110,000 illegal apps from pirate stores in the past 12 months, as it works to ensure that users who download apps extend their security beyond the App Store. While these stores bypass the App Store’s security protections, they often distribute malware designed to resemble popular apps or modify popular apps without developers’ consent.
The Cupertino firm also has a Developer Initiative Program for organizations that want to release their apps for internal use bypassing the standard app review process. But even here, Apple noticed and stopped more than 3.2 million instances of fraudulent applications.
Apple’s activity does not end with fake developer accounts, either. 244 million customer accounts disabled due to “fraud and abusive activities”. Another 424 million new registrations were rejected for the same reason.
Finally, regarding payment and credit card fraud, Apple used a combination of artificial intelligence and human investigation teams to stop transactions from over 3 million stolen cards in 2020. One million accounts are completely banned from trading in the future. Overall, these activities protected users from potentially $1.5 billion in fraudulent activity in 2020.
Those numbers can be said to be impressive, and Apple says it’s working day and night to make the App Store a safer place for developers and customers alike. But no system is perfect, and malicious activity can sometimes slip through the cracks unnoticed. Apple recommends using the “Report a Problem” feature in the App Store when such a situation comes to your attention, or calling Apple Support directly to alert the company…