New analysis from The Washington Post reveals that malicious apps make up 2 percent of top-grossing apps in Apple’s App Store.
Out of the top 1000 most popular apps, almost 2 percent of these are scams. These apps have made $48 million in the time they’ve been available for download on the App Store, with Apple receiving a 30 percent cut from each transaction. Two-thirds of these apps have since been removed since it has been highlighted in the report.
The scam apps cover a wide range, from fake VPN service to fraud dating apps and Fleeceware apps (which charge exorbitant subscription fees after a free trial period). Many of these apps also have a slew of fake reviews to drive up ratings.
In a media statement, Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz stated:
“We hold developers to high standards to keep the App Store a safe and trusted place for customers to download software, and we will always take action against apps that pose harm to users. Apple leads the industry with practices that put the safety of our customers first, and we’ll continue learning, evolving our practices, and investing the necessary resources to make sure customers are presented with the very best experience.”
But economist Stan Miles argued in The Washington Post that customers are being given a false sense of security that they are in a secure environment when they aren’t. He also argues that Apple’s monopoly and lack of competition is the reason the company isn’t being forced to take security as seriously as it needs to.
Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple has also revealed that Apple’s lack of security within the App Store stems back to years prior.
In a 2016 email, Eric Friedman, head of Apple’s Fraud Engineering Algorithms and Risk unit (FEAR) said that Apple’s screening process for apps is, “more like the pretty lady who greets you with a lei at the Hawaiian airport than the drug-sniffing dog,” according to The Washington Post.
Craig Federighi, Head of Software Engineering at Apple also testified in court recently that the level of malware on the Mac platform is “unacceptable.”