Nearly two percent of the most popular applications in the Apple App Store found to be malicious, according to an analysis from The Washington Post.
Apple’s latest investigation into the App Store shows how common fraud is in the digital marketplace, as well as how much money the Cupertino-based company makes as a result of fraudulent activity.
There has been increased attention focused on the ability of the Apple App Store to control the iOS applications that are offered. CEO, Tim Cook, states that it is vital for the company to maintain a monopoly on app access in order to be able to offer better safety for iOS users.
However, the analysis from The Washington Post’s research shows that nearly 2% of the top-1,000 applications are identified as frauds. These applications have charged $48 million from Apple’s customers for the time they’ve been accessible in the app store, with 30% of the revenue going to Apple from every transaction. According to the report, two-thirds of the fraudulent applications discovered by The Washington Post were taken down after Apple received a warning issued by the publication. There has been no comment from the iPhone maker on the allegations published in the analysis.
The Washington Post used the 1,000 highest-ranking applications on the App Store to perform their investigation, contrasting Apple’s public statements with their own findings. The investigation discovered a variety of malicious applications containing anything from fraudulent VPN services to phishing dating apps and more. As per the findings, the presence of Fleecewear applications (which charge expensive membership fees after a free trial period) and bogus reviews that inflate app ratings was also prominent.
The article in The Washington Post pointed out that the Apple App Store customers are being misled, believing they are safe when, in reality, they are not. The fact that there is no competition, according to the publication, is one of the main reasons why Apple has not taken security as seriously as it should.
In the last several months, Apple has had a number of security issues. Find My Device, a useful feature provided by the company, has lately been revealed to be susceptible to data theft. In March, Apple issued a patch for a memory-corruption flaw. Around the same time, hackers distributed a malicious Xcode project containing a backdoor for surveillance and data exfiltration in an attempt to compromise Apple developers.
If we consider the sheer size, credibility, and resources of Apple, it’s surprising why the company isn’t doing more to protect its customers from rogue applications. It is actually Apple that has the megaphone to bring awareness to its customer base and, maybe, more importantly, to make sure the App Store does not become a platform for frauds and malware distribution.