Just several days after highlighting a VPN and heart rate monitoring scam apps on Apple’s App Store, developer Eleftheriou has once again exposed a few new scam apps that have generated millions of dollars in revenue from unsuspecting users. However, one of the apps is far more dangerous than the usual scam app as it is a crooked online casino disguised as a kids game.
With the App Store rules under intense scrutiny at the moment, Apple’s main argument to justify its 30% app commission it asks from developers is a necessity as that capital is reinvested into the platform to manage security, review apps, and protect users from malware. However, this begs the question: how much is the tech giant really doing to protect users if new scam apps are surfacing on the App Store every day.
Developer sheds light on more scam apps on App Store
The developer of FlickType, a popular Apple Watch Keyboard app, Kosta Eleftheriou has been shedding light on fraudulent apps that are taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers – and Apple is doing nothing to stop them. Eleftheriou has since sued Apple over issues relating to App Store operations; accusing the company of negligence, abuse of monopoly power, and anticompetitive behavior.
Eleftheriou’s suit suggests that the Cupertino tech giant does not crack down on scammers and fraudulent apps on its platform because they generate millions in revenue for the App Store via fraudulent subscriptions. So ultimately, Apple receives its standard 30% cut from scammers as well as the hardworking developers on its platform.
Most recently, the developer exposed an app called XGate VPN on his Twitter account. The app allegedly rakes in $5 million per year from Apple users. Similar to the other VPN scam app he previously reported on, XGate VPN offers users a three-day trial, and those who accept the terms are charged $12 per week.
In addition to the VPN app, the developer also shed light on an iOS game that claims to be a simple runner game but is an online casino instead – which bypasses Apple’s in-app purchasing system. The game, Jungle Runner 2k21, appears to have been pulled from the App Store in the United States. However, for users accessing the game from an IP address in Turkey (or with a VPN), the app is an online casino disguised as a “fun running game” for ages 4+.
The app lures users in with fake ads, one of which claims the app was featured on CNN Turkey. Eleftheriou suggests that since users trust the App Store, they will also think it is safe to download the app. The app was on the App Store for several and had a few updates successfully go through Apple.
The developer uses shady ads to attract unsuspecting users, pretending the app was featured on CNN Turk. pic.twitter.com/zbuddS8Jrf
— Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou) April 15, 2021
With so many scam apps being exposed every day, it is important that Apple does a better job at reviewing the apps submitted to the App Store. Especially since it removed Fortnite from its platform for doing the same thing as some of these fraudulent apps
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