08 June 2021
No matter it is hardware or software, Apple has always claimed to be committed to maintaining user safety and privacy. Tim Cook, CEO of the company, has mentioned it as the reason behind tight controlled App Store practices. But as per The Washington Post report, App Store has been home to a number of scam apps despite all these claims.
The report claims that 2% of the top 1,000 grossing applications on the App Store are scams. These apps are said to have cost users to the tune of about $48 million. This estimate is the total revenue generated by these apps including Apple's cut which can go as high as 30%. This is undoubtedly a huge number not only from the perspective of developers but also from the point of view of Apple that made a lot of profit along the way.
A number of VPN apps were found to be fooling users by telling them their devices have been infected by a virus. It then asked them to pay for downloading a separate software that users did not even need. A QR code app was found to be asking users to pay $4.99 per week for doing something that Apple's iPhone camera app can do natively. This particular app is said to be still live on the App Store.
These scam apps are spread across various categories including dating apps. Some of them even project themselves as official apps from global brands like Samsung and Amazon. They further used the means of fake reviews to climb up the ranking chart on the App Store and thus convincing users that they are indeed genuine offerings. These types of apps are being referred to as "fleeceware".
The report adds that Apple had removed 12 of the 18 apps that it flagged. In response, here is what an Apple spokesperson told the publication,
“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 a 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.”