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

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.

boss room
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.

Top Rated Comments

Greymacuser Avatar
47 months ago
That's ok. Apple abuses its customers and app creators all the time.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
47 months ago
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.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
47 months ago
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!”
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nt5672 Avatar
47 months ago
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.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ryanwarsaw Avatar
47 months ago
Apple needs to simply let go of the idea of controlling adult content and move on.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
47 months ago
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.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.0.2 With Bug Fixes for iPhone 14 Pro Camera Vibration, Copy/Paste Issue and More

Thursday September 22, 2022 1:04 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS 16.0.2, addressing a number of bugs that iPhone 14 owners have been experiencing since the new devices launched. iOS 16.0.2 comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 16, and it follows iOS 16.0.1, an update made available to iPhone 14 owners on launch day. The update is available for all iPhones that are capable of running iOS 16. The iOS 16.0.2 update can be...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Don't Want the Apple Watch Ultra or Series 8? Amazon Has Record Low Prices on Series 7 Models This Week

Friday September 23, 2022 6:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are now available to purchase, but if you aren't interested in these updates you can save a lot of money on Series 7 models right now on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. The best deals are on cellular...
Dynamic Island For Android Users Feature

Android App Copying iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island Released on Play Store

Thursday September 22, 2022 7:57 am PDT by
A copycat version of the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island has arrived on Android's Google Play Store in the form of an app called "dynamicSpot." The app, still in beta, offers customers several different experiences at the top of their smartphones. In its current form, dynamicSpot offers playback control for songs, timers, battery status, and more features coming soon, according to the app's...
maxresdefault

Video Review: Four Days With the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Wednesday September 21, 2022 7:49 am PDT by
Apple on Friday released the new iPhone 14 models, and MacRumors videographer Dan picked one up on launch day. He's been using the iPhone 14 Pro Max non-stop since it came out, and over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, has shared his initial thoughts on the day-to-day experience with the latest iPhone. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Dan's mini review highlights...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

New 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pros Reportedly Launching Later This Year

Friday September 23, 2022 7:08 am PDT by
Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report does not mention specific models, but it very likely refers to the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros given that the 13-inch model was already updated earlier this year. There has been uncertainty surrounding the timing of new 14-inch and...
facebook meta

Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple's Privacy Features

Thursday September 22, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
Meta is facing a new proposed class action lawsuit that accuses it of tracking and collecting the personal data of iPhone users, despite features and policies made by Apple which are meant to stop that same type of tracking. In August, it was revealed that with the Facebook and Instagram apps, Meta can track all of a user's key taps, keyboard inputs, and more, when using the in-app browser....
AirPods Max 2022 Colors

Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2

Saturday September 24, 2022 1:00 am PDT by
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max. Almost two years later, rumors...
new airpods pro ear tips

Apple Explains Why Second-Generation AirPods Pro Ear Tips Are Incompatible With Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 22, 2022 3:12 pm PDT by
Apple today explained why the new silicone ear tips for the second-generation AirPods Pro are not officially compatible with the original AirPods Pro. In an updated support document, Apple said the original AirPods Pro ear tips have "noticeably denser mesh" than the second-generation ear tips. Apple did not provide any additional details, but the mesh density could result in acoustical...
AirPods Pro Second Generation 2 Pairing Feature 1

AirPods Pro 2 Engravings Appear in iOS During Pairing and Connecting

Friday September 23, 2022 9:40 am PDT by
Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their AirPods Pro. Apple allows customers to personalize their AirPods Pro charging case with a special engraving that can include select emojis and Memojis. Unlike before, starting with the second-generation AirPods...