Dozens of Adult Content and Gambling Apps Found Abusing Apple's Enterprise Certificate Program

MacRumors

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Following last month's revelations that Facebook and Google were using Apple's enterprise developer program to bypass the App Store and collect analytics from participating users, TechCrunch now reports that dozens of pornography and gambling apps are abusing the program as well.


TechCrunch's Josh Constine:
TechCrunch was able to download and verify 12 pornography and 12 real-money gambling apps over the past week that were abusing Apple's Enterprise Certificate system to offer apps prohibited from the App Store. These apps either offered streaming or pay-per-view hardcore pornography, or allowed users to deposit, win, and withdraw real money -- all of which would be prohibited if the apps were distributed through the App Store.
The report notes that the problem starts with Apple's lax standards for accepting businesses into its enterprise program, which is solely intended for companies to allow employees to side-load apps for internal use.
Developers simply have to fill out an online form and pay $299 to Apple, as detailed in this guide from Calvium. The form merely asks developers to pledge they're building an Enterprise Certificate app for internal employee-only use, that they have the legal authority to register the business, provide a D-U-N-S business ID number, and have an up to date Mac. You can easily Google a business' address details and look up their D-U-N-S ID number with a tool Apple provides.
Legitimate enterprise certificates are reportedly passed around on the black market too, particularly in China, and then used for prohibited purposes.

Apple did not explain how these apps slipped under the radar, whether it conducts routine compliance audits on developers in the program, or if it plans to change its enrollment process. Apple did issue a statement to TechCrunch noting that any developers who abuse the program will be immediately terminated:
Developers that abuse our enterprise certificates are in violation of the Apple Developer Enterprise Program Agreement and will have their certificates terminated, and if appropriate, they will be removed from our Developer Program completely. We are continuously evaluating the cases of misuse and are prepared to take immediate action.
Apple has apparently disabled some of the pornography and gambling apps over the past few days, but the report concludes that Apple should more tightly enforce its program to ensure it is not being used inappropriately.

Pornography and gambling apps involving real money are not allowed on the App Store.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Dozens of Adult Content and Gambling Apps Found Abusing Apple's Enterprise Certificate Program
 

alien3dx

macrumors 6502a
Feb 12, 2017
819
175
the only way can distribute ipa legally.That why apple need to follow like google does.If pressed verify then can install and apple have no obligation to repair the phone if something wrong.
[doublepost=1549991849][/doublepost]
That's ok. Apple abuses its customers and app creators all the time.
ask to paid 99 dollar per year while development cost pretty step. I would said -profit if i develop in IOS.
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 601
Dec 9, 2008
4,384
19,073
TechCrunch was able to download and verify 12 pornography and 12 real-money gambling apps over the past week that were abusing Apple's Enterprise Certificate system to offer apps prohibited from the App Store.
Ah, I’m guessing this is what you write about when the boss walks in on you having some personal time in your office. Well, played, Josh.

What are you downloading?!”

“It’s… IT’S FOR AN ARTICLE!”
 
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nt5672

macrumors 68000
Jun 30, 2007
1,901
3,949
Or Apple could just allow everything that is legal in the country that the app is sold in. Simple, elegant, non-discriminatory.

Of course you are worried about the Apple brand, or the children. That is simple too. Make an adult flag that prohibits download and install unless explicitly authorized by a credit card holder. Charge $1 to authorize and Apple can even profit from the feature. Make the feature show up on the credit card invoice as "Adult Content".

But no, to do that Apple would have to remove its conceit and start to respect user's choices.

Again simple solutions exist, but are not wanted. Apple is and always will be your nanny, unless people stand up and complain.
 

cmaier

macrumors G5
Jul 25, 2007
14,057
8,531
California
Or Apple could just allow everything that is legal in the country that the app is sold in. Simple, elegant, non-discriminatory.

Of course you are worried about the Apple brand, or the children. That is simple too. Make an adult flag that prohibits download and install unless explicitly authorized by a credit card holder. Charge $1 to authorize and Apple can even profit from the feature. Make the feature show up on the credit card invoice as "Adult Content".

But no, to do that Apple would have to remove its conceit and start to respect user's choices.

Again simple solutions exist, but are not wanted. Apple is and always will be your nanny, unless people stand up and complain.
I’m happy that apple restricts app content. A lot less to worry about as a parent, a lot less junk to filter through to get to decent apps, and the issue of “legal in the country” doesn’t work - things may be legal in one town and not legal in the next town over. It’s not a country-by-country thing. When I need an app that the App Store won’t allow (or which the economics of the App Store prevent from happening), I just write it myself.

If I wanted unrestricted app choices I’d switch to Android.
 

jarman92

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2014
506
903
Apple needs to simply let go of the idea of controlling adult content and move on.
It isn't a question of adult content...these companies are flagrantly violating the terms they agreed to.

And while I think Apple goes a bit overboard with the anti-adult content, I don't blame them for not wanting this garbage cluttering up their App Store. Anyone with an iPhone can go to any website they want, and most porn sites work perfectly fine in mobile Safari. And most online gambling is illegal anyway, so those would never be allowed in the store.
 

macfacts

macrumors 68040
Oct 7, 2012
3,508
4,134
Cybertron
Privacy on the iPhone only exists if the 3rd party devs are honest and follow the store rules. Apple doesn't look at the source code of submitted apps.
 

thadoggfather

macrumors G4
Oct 1, 2007
10,843
7,694
Two camps

1) kudos to Apple for cracking down

2) Are they just now waking up from their slumber?
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,174
8,822
California
And do the apps not pay Apple 30% when they do it this way? (I'm thinking NO).
From the TechCrunch article, these companies are making the apps available for download at their web sites, and completely bypassing the App Store. So Apple would have no way of getting any revenue from this.

TechCrunch found thousands of sites offering downloads of “sideloaded” Enterprise apps, and investigating just a sample uncovered numerous abuses. Using a standard un-jailbroken iPhone. TechCrunch was able to download and verify 12 pornography and 12 real-money gambling apps over the past week that were abusing Apple’s Enterprise Certificate system to offer apps prohibited from the App Store.
 
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sentiblue

macrumors regular
Aug 2, 2012
185
85
Silicon Valley
That's a stunning shock when I realize details about the enterprise cert program!!!

What shocks me most is the $299 fee. With enterprise programs I'd imagine they charge in the 10s of thousands of dollars. In fact, they should start charging that mount now. For REAL enterprise developers, 50K is still a very manageable amount. That will weed out all of the scammers.
 

cmaier

macrumors G5
Jul 25, 2007
14,057
8,531
California
That's a stunning shock when I realize details about the enterprise cert program!!!

What shocks me most is the $299 fee. With enterprise programs I'd imagine they charge in the 10s of thousands of dollars. In fact, they should start charging that mount now. For REAL enterprise developers, 50K is still a very manageable amount. That will weed out all of the scammers.
Not every enterprise is a fortune 500 company, Lots of smaller companies use customized software solutions.
 

jjhny

macrumors regular
Sep 16, 2005
215
843
I try to avoid anything that is a waste-of-money - online gambling, in-app purchases are mostly just wastes of money. I just feel bad for people who can't spare the money getting their credit card bills each month and realizing they are just getting deeper into debt. All these companies are desperate to make you subscribe, buy, got locked into renewals, etc. in such a way that it is death by a thousand cuts. All of those little amounts add up to poverty for most.
 
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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,471
24,220
I try to avoid anything that is a waste of money - online gambling, in-app purchases are all wastes of money. I just feel bad for people who can't spare the money getting their credit card bills and realizing they are just a step deeper into debt. With all these companies nickel and diming people to death, the best answer is not to play.
What’s the difference, really, between having $20 in your account or $0? You’re still poor either way.

Yet with $20 you could play the horses, lob the lot on Glue Factory with 56/1 odds and pay off your overdraft!

Come on beauty, don’t let me down. Baby needs a new pair of shoes.
 
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H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,353
3,752
I’m happy that apple restricts app content. A lot less to worry about as a parent, a lot less junk to filter through to get to decent apps, and the issue of “legal in the country” doesn’t work - things may be legal in one town and not legal in the next town over. It’s not a country-by-country thing. When I need an app that the App Store won’t allow (or which the economics of the App Store prevent from happening), I just write it myself.

If I wanted unrestricted app choices I’d switch to Android.
That's some good active parenting there.
 
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jtara

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
1,826
433
Was waiting for these shoes to drop.

Still some more: (this thing's a well-shod octopus!)

- crypto-currency apps

- "beta test crowdsourcing" apps (where "developers" pay "testers" to "test") Or simply use to distribute their non-compliant app outside of the App Store to "testers"

I think Apple will look the other way for the cases where e.g. Office Sleepo has an app to allow companies like PencilCo to see their sales numbers. (Or, rather, I think Apple may broaden the program to encompass those reasonable types of uses, which technically are not currently allowed.)
 

Bin Cook

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2018
308
649
Apple well in front of the UK on this. We will be not allowed to look at consenting adults fornicate on the web later this year because we have a Christian fundamentalist Prime Minister who believes masturbating gives you hairy hands and that you’ll go to hell.

Perhaps Apple has a few too many religious but jobs acting as moral arbiters too?
 
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