12/29 Update below. This post was originally published on December 28
Apple’s iPhone 14 plans are some of its most exciting in years, but serious problems remain with the company’s software, privacy and security. And stunning new revelations mean all three have now taken another beating. 
iPhone owners need to be aware of illegal App Store apps which Apple is inadvertently profiting … [+] from.
In his latest high profile exposé of App Store fleeceware ​(including casinos hidden inside children’s games ​and a ‘factory’ of iOS scam apps), Apple developer Kosta Eleftheriou has revealed ​the App Store is currently hosting a series of secret illegal movie streaming services and taking profit from the
12/29 Update: Apple has contacted me today to confirm that the company has now removed all the illegal apps discovered by Kosta Eleftheriou. I have also subsequently checked the URLs for these apps (not shared in this post, for obvious reasons) and can confirm that the listings have gone. Apple deserves praise for the speed of its reponse time in this instance. The company did not reveal whether it will be returning funds to users tricked into subscribing to these apps nor whether it will be returning profits taken from their sale. I have requested further clarification on this. Ultimately, concerns remain that so many of these apps continue to get past the company’s App Store approval process — safeguards which have previously been seen as “bringing a plastic butter knife to a gunfight”. Clearly, a lot more needs to be done if Apple is to live up to its lofty protection pledge (image below). 12/29 Update: Apple has contacted me today to confirm that the company has now removed all the illegal apps discovered by Kosta Eleftheriou. I have also subsequently checked the URLs for these apps (not shared in this post, for obvious reasons) and can confirm that the listings have gone. Apple deserves praise for the speed of its reponse time in this instance. The company did not reveal whether it will be returning funds to users tricked into subscribing to these apps nor whether it will be returning profits taken from their sale. I have requested further clarification on this. Ultimately, concerns remain that so many of these apps continue to get past the company’s App Store approval process — safeguards which have previously been seen as “bringing a plastic butter knife to a gunfight”. Clearly, a lot more needs to be done if Apple is to live up to its lofty protection pledge (image below).
The developer highlights a series of approved apps, all masquerading as different innocent services — from classic movie trailers to photo filters — which subsequently encourage users to enter codes or share them to unlock their true purpose. Moreover, the apps feature premium subscription tiers which are all processed through Apple Pay from which Apple takes a 15-30% cut. 
New Apple App Store illegal iPhone and iPad apps are making millions from users and Apple is … [+] profiting from them
For Apple’s part, Eleftheriou points out that the apps have been available for months, despite featuring reviews which promote their true nature and brazenly advertize their illegal nature in use. Influencers on social media “with *millions* of followers” are also promoting the apps
“While Apple is failing to police its App Store, these apps have amassed over 2M downloads and are now generating ~$16,000/day, or about $6M per year,” states Eleftheriou. 
And this is the most worrying aspect. In legal documents released as part of the ongoing Epic Vs Apple trial, Eric Friedman, head of the company’s Fraud Engineering Algorithms and Risk (‘FEAR’ unit) compared App Store security to “bringing a plastic butter knife to a gunfight” saying the App Store review process is “more like the pretty lady who greets you… at the Hawaiian airport than the drug-sniffing dog.”
Apple’s App Store pledge is beginning to ring hollow for some.
Eleftheriou is far from a neutral observer, having taken Apple to court claiming Apple copied his popular Apple Watch app FlickType. Regardless, his discoveries are making iPhone and iPad users sit up and take notice, especially considering Apple heavily markets itself as a class leader in user security despite counterclaims that iOS scams now have profits “measured in billions”. 
I have contacted Apple and will update this article when/if I receive a response. 
___
Follow Gordon on Facebook
More On Forbes
Apple Now Tracks And Warns Users About Part Repairs On Every iPhone
Apple Starts Sending NSO Hack Warnings To iPhone Users

source