Developer of the popular app “Authenticator”, Kevin Archer has discovered scam apps on the App Store that have copied the description and functionality of his 2FA app and are charging users up to up to $335 per year, if they forget to cancel the weekly subscription. Archer has joined several other developers in highlighting the flaws of the App Store review process.
Apple is fighting antitrust legislations which aim to allow developers to offer app stores and payment methods on iOS, outside the App Store and the company’s strongest argument against such proposal is that the App Store review process works as a barrier to prevent malicious apps and malware from jeopardizing consumers safety and privacy.
However, the existence of scamming apps like the Authenticator app’s copycat that copy legitimate apps, do not offer the listed features, and rob users of thousands of dollars annually weaken Apple’s argument, significantly.
Scammer fools the App Store review process again, just by changing the color theme this time
In his Twitter thread, Archer shared that he found two apps with the same name as his “Authenticator” app, and their verbatim text of the copycats, as his app, got his attention. The posted screenshots of the two copycat apps reveal that they are using the same description and images as Archer’s legitimate 2FA app but in different color themes, orange and green.
The fake apps even list the features that they do not offer like Apple Watch support and Home Screen widget. And unlike the original “Authenticator” app, the copycats come with weekly subscriptions, $3.99 and $5.99 which can add up to hundreds of dollars per year if the users forget to cancel the subscription plan.
This discovery has made Archer question the App Store review process which can not identify scamming apps and allow them to steal from consumers.
Every day indie devs like us, got apps rejected for silly things, meanwhile, there are others who spam App Store with imitations and weekly subscriptions. I would like to ask the developer community to retweet this, maybe someone who works at Apple will take necessary actions.
— Kevin Archer (@IM_Kevin_Archer) February 19, 2022
Scam apps continue to infest the App Store, and a problem Apple’s top executives are aware of and disturbed by. During the Epic Games trial, 2012 emails of Apple Fellow Phil Schiller were shared in which he expressed anger and frustration with scam app ranking #1 on the App Store. Now the question is when will the tech giant fix this issue.