Apple has taken action against more than 1.6 million risky apps


As WWDC 2022 kicks off next week — during which Apple will unveil the latest versions of operating software for iPhones, iPads, Macs, the Apple Watch and Apple TV — the iPhone maker also released some revealing statistics about its App Store security efforts.

Apple will likely summarize some of these findings during the WWDC keynote event on Monday, June 6th. In short, Apple said Wednesday that its security efforts have protected customers from nearly $1.5 billion in “potentially fraudulent” transactions in 2021. Also, Apple has blocked more than 1.6 million “risky and vulnerable” apps from cheating users.

Sure, it always takes some tact to quantify the damage that could have been caused by something that didn’t actually happen. However, the infographic below gives a little insight into how Apple came to these conclusions. Last year, for example, the company says it blocked more than 3.3 million stolen credit cards when making purchases in the App Store. This statistic also helps partially explain where the “$1.5 billion in fraudulent transactions” number came from.

Security in the App Store in numbers

From Apple’s press release Wednesday: “Apple’s efforts to prevent and reduce App Store fraud require ongoing monitoring and vigilance by multiple teams. From App Review to Discovery Fraud, Apple’s continued commitment to protecting users from fraudulent app activity shows once again why independent, respected security experts say the App Store is the safest place to find and download apps.”

Image source: Apple

In 2021, Apple said its App Review process helped more than 107,000 new developers get their apps into the App Store. Although this process is not as easy as it sounds.

For example, sometimes pending apps are a bit unfinished. Or contain bugs that break its functionality when the app is first submitted for approval. Apple may also require more robust content moderation mechanisms for all user-generated content.

“In 2021, over 835,000 problematic new apps and another 805,000 app updates were declined or removed for a variety of reasons like these,” Apple said. As part of the app review process, Apple also emphasizes that such decisions are not necessarily final. Any developer “who believes they have been falsely reported for fraud” can appeal to Apple’s App Review Board.

Apple releases fraud analysis ahead of WWDC

Apple also points out that it has rejected some apps from the App Store for “blatant violations” of Apple’s policies. The iPhone maker says the breaches were of a nature that could have either affected or degraded the overall user experience.

Apple adds that its app review team rejected more than 34,500 apps from its application market in 2021. The reason? For “with hidden or undocumented” features. In addition, more than 157,000 apps were rejected from the App Store for other reasons. For example, Apple has determined that these apps are “spam, copycat, or mislead users by, for example, tricking them into making a purchase.”

As mentioned above, Apple will likely address some of these findings early in the keynote presentation at WWDC 2022. It will likely be part of the company’s more general state of mind remarks before Apple execs dive into the specific operating system announcements.

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