App Store stopped nearly $1.5 billion in fraudulent transactions in 2021
June 1, 2022
The App Store stopped nearly $ 1.5 billion in fraudulent transactions in 2021
More than 1.6 million risky and unreliable applications and application upgrades have been prevented from scamming users year-round
Apple is committed to keeping the App Store a safe and trusted place for people to discover and download apps. A key pillar in this effort is Apple’s ongoing work to detect and take action against malicious actors who seek to defraud developers and users.
Bad actors continue to develop their methods of online fraud, often making their schemes more difficult to recognize. That’s why Apple has continued to refine its processes, creating new ones and designing solutions to address these threats.
Last year, Apple released an inaugural fraud prevention analysis, which showed that in 2020 alone, Apple’s combination of sophisticated technology and human experience protected customers from more than $ 1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions. , avoiding the attempt to steal your money, information and time. – and kept almost a million new problematic applications out of its hands.
Today, Apple releases an annual update of this analysis: In 2021, Apple protected customers of nearly $ 1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions and stopped more than 1.6 million risky applications and application updates and vulnerable users of fraudsters.
Apple’s efforts to prevent and reduce fraud in the App Store require constant monitoring and surveillance across multiple computers. From reviewing apps to discovery fraud, Apple’s ongoing commitment to protecting users from fraudulent app activity demonstrates once again why independent and respected security experts have said that the App Store is the safest place to find and download applications.
The application review process has several layers and combines computer automation with manual human review. App Review uses proprietary tools that take advantage of machine learning, heuristics, and data accumulated since the launch of the App Store, which helps to quickly extract large volumes of information about potential issues and violations of an app .
Human review is the hallmark of the application review process. The app review team reviews every app and update to make sure they follow the App Store’s privacy, security, and spam guidelines. This process serves as a critical line of defense to help protect users from bad actors.
The goal of App Review is to always help you get new, quality apps in the App Store.
In 2021, App Review helped more than 107,000 new developers launch their in-store apps. This process can be iterative, as applications may sometimes be unfinished or contain errors that impede their functionality when they are first submitted for approval, or they may need to improve their content moderation mechanisms. users. In 2021, more than 835,000 problematic new applications and an additional 805,000 application updates were rejected or removed for various reasons such as these. As part of the application review process, any developer who considers that they have been flagged incorrectly for fraud may file an appeal with the Application Review Committee.
A smaller group of these rejections were for flagrant violations that could harm users or profoundly diminish their experience. In 2021 alone, the application review team rejected more than 34,500 applications because they contained hidden or undocumented features, and more than 157,000 applications were rejected because they were found to be spam, imitation, or misleading to users. such as manipulating them to make a purchase. .
Sometimes bad developers try to evade App Review by creating an app that appears in a way, only to alter its concept or functionality once it’s approved. When Apple finds cases of this type of fraud, App Review rejects or removes these apps from the store immediately, and affected developers receive a 14-day notice of the appeals process. In 2021, more than 155,000 apps were removed from the App Store for such violations.
App Review plays an important role in Apple’s efforts to protect users’ privacy, which Apple believes is a fundamental human right. Application submissions are reviewed to ensure that user data is properly managed. In 2021, the app review team rejected more than 343,000 apps for requesting more user data than needed or for incorrectly manipulating data they were already collecting.
The Apple Developer Code of Conduct makes it clear that developers who engage in repeated manipulative or deceptive behavior, or any other fraudulent conduct, will be removed from the Apple Developer Program. This same code also requires developers to represent themselves and their bids in the App Store accurately and honestly, to refrain from engaging in conduct that could manipulate any element of the App Store customer experience. and to maintain high quality content, services and experiences for customers. .
If users have questions about an app, they can report it by clicking the Report a Problem feature in the App Store or by calling Apple Support, and developers can use any of these methods. additional channels such as Feedback Assistant and Apple Developer Support.
Fraudulent assessments and reviews
App Store scores and reviews serve as a resource for both users and developers. Many iOS users have come to rely on this feature as a way to help them decide whether to download an app or which app option best suits their needs. In turn, these ratings and reviews help improve the discovery in the App Store and provide significant intelligence to developers who take these comments and improve the features and offerings of their apps accordingly.
Illegal ratings and reviews pose a serious risk to the App Store, as this type of deception can lead users to download – and in many cases buy – an unreliable app that tries to play with the App Store. system through misrepresentation, rather than providing users with the quality experience. expect from the App Store. Confidence in this system is paramount, and Apple’s anti-fraud initiatives help maintain its integrity. A refined system that combines technology and human review by expert teams allows Apple to moderate ratings and reviews.
With more than a billion ratings and reviews processed over the course of 2021, Apple has systematically detected and blocked more than 94 million reviews and more than 170 million ratings of the publication for failing to meet moderation standards. An additional 610,000 reviews have also been removed after posting based on submissions from customer concerns and an additional human assessment.
When developer accounts are used fraudulently or fraudulently for fraudulent purposes, the infringing developer’s Apple developer account is canceled. While these individuals or entities implement elaborate techniques to obscure their actions, Apple oversees to ensure that related accounts are closed quickly. As a result of these efforts, Apple canceled more than 802,000 developer accounts in 2021. An additional 153,000 developer registrations were denied due to fraud issues, preventing these malicious actors from sending an app to the store. .
In an effort to protect users who download apps beyond the secure and trusted App Store, over the past 12 months, Apple has found and blocked more than 63,500 illegitimate apps in pirated stores. These showcases distribute malicious software often designed to resemble popular applications, or to modify popular applications without the permission of their developers, while circumventing the security protections in the App Store.
Over the past month alone, Apple has blocked more than 3.3 million instances of illegally distributed applications through its enterprise developer program, which is designed to allow large organizations to develop and distribute privately its own applications for internal use. Criminals have attempted to exploit this program in an attempt not to review applications or involve a legitimate company by compromising a privileged person to filter the credentials needed to submit illegal content.
Apple is also taking action on fraudulent customer accounts. In 2021, Apple shut down more than 170 million customer accounts associated with fraudulent and abusive activities. If an account behaves similar to those that have been committed in previous abuses, they are deactivated before they can be used. In addition, in 2021, more than 118 million account creation attempts were rejected because they showed consistent patterns with fraudulent and abusive activities.
Eliminating account-level fraud helps curb such dishonest behavior and provides users with more accurate information about the relative quality and popularity of an app in the App Store.
Payment and credit card fraud
For many people, no data is more sensitive than their financial information. That’s why Apple has invested heavily in creating more secure payment technologies like Apple Pay and StoreKit. These technologies are used by more than 905,000 apps to sell goods and services in the App Store. For example, with Apple Pay, credit card numbers are never shared with merchants, eliminating a risk factor in the payment transaction process.
As with all forms of fraud, Apple takes credit card fraud very seriously and is committed to protecting the App Store and its users from such anguish. In 2021 alone, as a result of a combination of technology and human review, more than 3.3 million stolen cards were prevented from being used for potentially fraudulent purchases, and nearly 600,000 accounts were banned from re-transactions. . In total, Apple protected users from nearly $ 1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2021.
Apple’s efforts make the App Store a safe and trusted place for users to find and download apps, and for developers to do what they do best: create. To help ensure that the trust ecosystem is maintained for years to come, Apple will continue to work to detect fraudulent activities and accounts and prevent financial crime.
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