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Apple brags that it caught unauthorized iOS apps selling drugs and porn — here's how

Apple App Store
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple wants the world to know that it runs a tight ship in the App Store. The Cupertino-based tech giant boasted about its 2020 anti-fraud stats, announcing that it caught 95,000 apps selling unauthorized services such as drugs, porn, gambling and predatory loans.

The shady apps applied for Apple App Store verification under an innocuous façade, but after getting accepted, the developers did the ol' bait-and-switch, and started selling illicit services.

When Apple discovers these crooked apps, they are either rejected or removed immediately from the App Store. Developers can participate in a 14-day appeals process before their accounts are terminated. Apple went on to highlight the slew of other shady activities it blocked last year thanks to its sharp eye for malicious actors.

Apple claims that it protected users from $1.5B in fraudulent transactions

Apple announced that its users would have fallen victim to $1.5 billion in fraudulent transactions, but thanks to the App Review team and its fraudulent account detection system, the App Store remained relatively safe.

Apple

Apple 2020 fraud prevention stats (Image credit: Apple)

"In 2020 alone, the fusion of sophisticated technology and human review prevented more than three million stolen credit cards from being used to purchase stolen good and services," Apple said, adding that it banned nearly one million malicious accounts last year.

In addition to payment and credit card fraud, Apple bragged about how its aggressive monitoring helped flag more than 250 million fraudulent ratings and reviews. Apple says it relies on a "sophisticated system" that involves a melange of machine learning, artificial intelligence and expert teams to help moderate and reject suspicious reviews.

Maintaining the integrity of Apple's ratings system is important for capturing users' trust. "App Store ratings and reviews help many users make decisions about which apps to download, and developers rely on them to incorporate new features that respond to user feedback," the MacBook maker said.

Apple's 2020 anti-fraud report comes as the iPhone maker faces a bitter legal battle with Epic Games, arguing that its authoritative, iron-fisted oversight over the Apple App Store's activities is necessary to protect users' privacy and security.

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!