Once again, the app developer, Kosta Eleftheriou has uncovered that Apple may be out for the money over proper scrutiny of the apps they allow into their store. A few weeks ago, the developer shared the shocking news about the gambling app he discovered in the Apple Store masquerading as children’s games.
The app he exposed earlier, known as Jungle Runner 2K21 launches a children’s game featuring a monkey collecting bananas. However, when you open the app from certain countries or open it with a VPN, the game transforms into a full-blown gambling platform. Apple has been approving essentially online casino games hidden within what appear to be vague games for killing time.
We thought we had seen the last of it when Eleftheriou shared his concerns that such a game got approved by Apple. But it seems the case of Jungle Runner 2K21 is just one of many other acts of a trend of sloppiness to be seen in the Apple App Store. Eleftheriou has uncovered more of these kinds of casino apps camouflaging children’s games in the Apple Store.
His newest discoveries include a game called Vegas Pirates and a puzzle game called Lucky Stars. These two games automatically transform into casinos when you access them from Russia or use a VPN to do so. Most surprising is that, unlike the Jungle Runner 2K21 game, these games have titles suggesting what they may be, yet Apple could not see through the veil. Making them even more suspicious is that the layout of the games has themes suggesting gambling orientation. In addition, they also claimed a major Russian news organization as the website of the developer.
Is Apple’s approval of scam casino apps intentional?
Despite all these red flags and the subsequent approval by Apple, one may wonder if this kind of casino app has not overrun the Apple store. One may also wonder if Apple intentionally allows these games into their store. And if so, why?
Last year alone, Apple made a return of $64 billion from its app store. Apple’s apparent fraternization with questionable app developers and the mischief born out of that union has handed critics more weapons with which to dismantle Apple. Coupled with the fact that Apple has pending lawsuits about its effort to protect its users, these discoveries touching on integrity are additional binds it has to lose.
As the case of camouflaged casino apps rages, Eleftheriou has gone ahead to reveal that these apps have been on the store for months, under which it has gone through upgrades approved by Apple. The big question, according to Eleftheriou, remains, “why does Apple allow this to happen while engaging in security theatre?”
While the answer to this question could be money, Eleftheriou thinks there are other reasons. He claims these reasons border on the failure of Apple to deliver on its promise to provide, “The apps you love. From a place you can trust.”
Apple store and security concerns
In the ongoing court case with Epic Games, Apple claims it ensures that users are secure. However, Eleftheriou believes otherwise, saying, “so far, I have exposed DOZENS of App store scams – including several multi-million dollar scams.” He went on to say, “if I can find these scams so easily on the App Store, without any internal Apple data or tools, why isn’t Apple finding them? No answer to that question is a good one for Apple.”
Kosta Eleftheriou took to his Twitter account to state his convictions regarding the Apple App Store. He said, “The singular, centralized App Store model is broken by design. The promise to protect users through human review doesn’t hold. On top of that, Apple’s misleading marketing causes people to let their guard down when downloading apps from the App Store, leading to more fraud.”
The above claims by Eleftheriou on a store that could pass as the most trusted mobile app store have raised a lot of concerns. And one might say that this is the intention after Apple’s former Senior Director for Worldwide Product Market, Michael Gartenberg, went on Twitter to say, “I believe Eleftheriou has brought an important issue about the App Store to a mainstream audience. I hope Apple gets its act together soon. The ecosystem that is often praised is breaking at the seams IMHO.”
Eleftheriou also quoted Eric Friedman, head of Apple’s Fraud Engineering Algorithms and Risk team, to have said that Apple’s reliance on App Reviews is like “bringing a plastic butter knife to a gunfight.” Whatever is the case, Eleftheriou has shown that Apple can better deliver on its promises to customers.