Developers are Abusing Apple’s Enterprise Certificate Program to Publish Porn and Gambling Apps

Posted on: February 13, 2019, 09:30h. 

Last updated on: February 14, 2019, 04:14h.

App developers are circumventing Apple’s stringent approval process by instead using the employee-focused Enterprise Certificate program to publicly publish their pornography and gambling apps.

gambling apps
The P8 Poker App was one of several gambling Apples which slipped past the eye of Apple. (Image: YouTube)

A report by TechCrunch shows that at least two dozen apps have been able to abuse the certificate program, allowing developers to get apps to market which would normally be refused. 

Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program was intended as an internal workaround for businesses, giving them “everything you need to start distributing proprietary in-house apps to your employees,” according to Apple.

Because the apps published via the Enterprise system are meant for in-house use only, they face far fewer restrictions for publication. But it seems some developers have found a way to piggyback on the lax procedures to get their illicit apps distributed to the general public anyway. 

The investigation found that 12 porn and 12 gambling apps were published and ready to be installed onto any standard, non-jailbroken iPhone.

Taking Cues from Facebook and Google

The report follows another TechCrunch bombshell last week, in which it revealed that tech giants Facebook and Google also abused the Enterprise program, allowing it to publish apps which would normally be rejected by Apple.

The apps reportedly would allow Facebook and Google to snoop in on all activity on a user’s phone, a practice Apple condemned in a statement.

“Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple.”

The company has since revoked the Facebook and Google apps in question, but TechCrunch reports that many of the gambling applications are still available for public download, including RD Poker and RiverPoker from Mohajer International Communications LLC, Live22 from Lucky 8 Technology Inc., and Dragon Gaming from CSL-Loma, among others.

Chinese Backlash

The news won’t go over well in China, where government officials are already upset with Apple for failing to keep such vice-laden apps away from the public.

Last summer, Chinese State media blasted the company for allowing illegal gambling apps into the app store under the guise of online lottery games. 

That led to Apple removing some 25,000 questionable apps from the Chinese app store a few weeks later.

As for the latest controversy, Apple isn’t saying how it happened but is promising to shut things down.

“Developers that abuse our enterprise certificates are in violation of the Apple Developer Enterprise Program Agreement and will have their certificates terminated,” reads a statement.