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Apple Blocked 1.6 Million Risky, Vulnerable Apps in 2021

Apple says its App Store fraud prevention mechanisms last year stopped potentially fraudulent transactions totaling roughly $1.5 billion.

Throughout 2021, the company prevented more than 3.3 million stolen credit cards from making purchases in the App Store, and banned nearly 600,000 accounts from ever transacting again.

Apple says its App Store fraud prevention mechanisms last year stopped potentially fraudulent transactions totaling roughly $1.5 billion.

Throughout 2021, the company prevented more than 3.3 million stolen credit cards from making purchases in the App Store, and banned nearly 600,000 accounts from ever transacting again.

The company also notes that in 2021 it rejected more than 1.6 million risky and vulnerable applications and app updates from the store, either for containing vulnerabilities that impeded functionality, or for requiring various improvements.

That figure, Apple explains, included over 835,000 problematic new apps, of which over 34,000 were apps containing hidden or undocumented features; 157,000 were spam, copycat, or otherwise misleading apps; and over 340,000 were privacy-violating apps.

Furthermore, an additional 805,000 app updates were rejected or removed from the App Store, as part of Apple’s App Review process.

While it helped more than 107,000 new developers publish applications in the App Store, Apple also terminated more than 802,000 fraudulent developer accounts and prevented 153,000 developer enrollments over fraud concerns.

In line with Apple’s Developer Code of Conduct, developers need to be accurate and honest when representing themselves and their offerings on the App Store. The code also notes that developers are removed from the Developer Program for repeatedly engaging in manipulative or misleading behavior.

Customer accounts were also deactivated for engaging in fraudulent and abusive activity: a total of 170 million of them. What’s more, an additional 118 million account creation attempts were rejected due to suspicion of potential fraudulent and abusive activity.

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Apple also says it took action against fraudulent ratings and reviews in the App Store. Out of over 1 billion such entries processed in 2021, more than 94 million reviews and 170 million ratings were blocked from being published. The company also removed an additional 610,000 reviews.

Over the last 12 months, Apple says, more than 63,500 illegitimate apps were identified and blocked on pirate storefronts, which distribute malicious software resembling popular, legitimate apps, or modify these applications without authorization.

Related: Apple Chief Cook Takes App Store Battle to Washington

Related: Apple Points to Android Malware Infections in Argument Against Sideloading on iOS

Related: Researchers Abuse Apple’s Find My Network for Data Upload

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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