Apple’s App Store Triumph: Halting Over RM9 Billion in Fraud and Battling Third-Party Store Menace

Apple stopped fraudulent transactions worth USD 2.09 billion (around RM9.4 billion) on its App Store last year. It also removed nearly 1.7 million app submissions for not meeting its privacy, security, and content standards. Apple criticized third-party app stores, calling them “illegitimate storefronts” that lack privacy and security protections. It claimed to have protected users from nearly 57,000 untrustworthy apps found on these unauthorized marketplaces. These apps can imitate or modify popular apps without the developers’ permission and may distribute harmful software.

Apple took action against potentially fraudulent activity by terminating over 428,000 developer accounts. This is a significant decrease from the previous year due to improved methods for preventing the creation of fraudulent accounts. They also rejected around 105,000 enrolments in the Apple Developer Programme for suspicious activities, preventing bad actors from submitting apps. Additionally, Apple blocked nearly 3.9 million attempts to launch or install illicit apps through the Developer Enterprise Programme, meant for internal app deployment within large organizations. They disabled over 282 million customer accounts linked to fraudulent and abusive behavior and blocked the creation of 198 million fraudulent new customer accounts.

Apple emphasized its app review process, which involves multiple safety checks. This includes using Xcode developer software to ensure apps comply with authorized technologies and minimum requirements. App Store Connect is used to identify known malware and references to private APIs, and the App Review team conducts a thorough inspection of each app. Apple has rejected apps this year for privacy and security reasons, such as the use of malicious code that could steal user credentials and apps disguised as financial management platforms. They also rejected apps for being spam, copycats, misleading, containing hidden features, or attempting to collect personal data without user consent.

Apple stated that its App Review team investigates apps reported through the “Report a Problem” tool and takes action by removing fraudulent and malicious apps. They also automatically remove unapproved apps from developer accounts terminated for fraud and abuse to prevent their submission to the App Store. Apple has removed more than 147 million potentially misleading app ratings and reviews that came from fraudulent or bot accounts. Additionally, they have helped credit card fraud victims by blocking almost 3.9 million stolen credit cards in the previous year.

Apple is facing pressure from the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to promote open markets in Europe and will take effect on March 6 next year. As a result, Apple may be required to make significant changes to its products. These changes include allowing the installation of third-party app stores and sideloading on its devices. Additionally, Apple may have to open up access to features like Find My, NFC chip, cameras, default web browser settings, and more to rival companies. The regulatory pressure has already led Apple to plan one major change for the iPhone—the addition of a USB-C port.



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