Apple prevented 1 million risky or vulnerable apps from entering App Store in 2020

The iPhone maker has sang its own praises for preventing problematic apps from entering its app store, despite emails submitted into court last week alleging it failed to disclose to millions of its users that they installed malware.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor
Image: Getty Images

Apple stopped nearly 1 million risky or vulnerable apps from being included in the App Store in 2020 as part of efforts to protect users from being manipulated.

Of those rejections, 48,000 were executed due to the apps containing hidden or undocumented features, while more than 150,000 apps were rejected because they were found to be spam, copycats, or misleading to users in ways such as manipulating them into making a purchase, Apple said in a blog post.

In 2020, Apple's app review team also rejected over 215,000 apps due to developers either seeking more user data than they needed or mishandling user data.

Apple added that it terminated 470,000 developer accounts in 2020 and rejected an additional 205,000 developer enrolments over fraud concerns.

It claimed that its monitoring practices resulted in these fraudulent developer accounts, on average, being terminated less than a month after they were created.

"Unfortunately, sometimes developer accounts are created entirely for fraudulent purposes. If a developer violation is egregious or repeated, the offender is expelled from the Apple Developer Program and their account terminated," Apple said.

By performing these monitor protocols, in addition to preventing more than 3 million stolen credit cards from being used, Apple claimed it prevented more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent App Store transactions.

Apple's App Store update comes shortly after documents were submitted into court that reportedly scrutinised its security capability.

In a 2015 email entered into court last week, Apple managers said they uncovered 2,500 malicious apps that were downloaded 203 million times by 128 million users.

Despite other emails indicating that Apple was considering whether to notify affected users of the malicious apps, Apple's legal representatives did not provide evidence that they let users know they had installed malware, according to an ArsTechnica report.

The emails were submitted as part of an ongoing three-week trial for a legal stoush between Apple and Epic Games.

Epic Games raised the lawsuit against Apple in August last year, accusing the iPhone maker of misusing its market power to substantially lessen competition in-app distribution and payment processes. 

The US lawsuit is one among many that Epic Games has raised against Apple, with the Fortnite maker seeking legal action across other jurisdictions, such as Australia, the EU, and the UK.


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