More Gambling Apps Masquerading As iOS Kids Games, One Researcher Found, Again

Lucky Stars., and Lucky Vegas

The App Store is one of Apple's most profitable business. And again, it seems that the tech giant isn't really bothered by apps masquerading as other apps.

Kosta Eleftheriou has been making headlines for quite a few times, when he uncovered a bunch of scammy iOS apps and a list of dirty deeds by Apple.

The most recent would be the "fun running game" on iOS that can secretly turn into a scammy gambling app.

This time, Eleftheriou is again finding another similar scam.

Two to be exact.

They include a match-three puzzle game dubbed 'Lucky Stars.' that can turn into a casino app when opened in Russia, and a game called 'Vegas Pirates' that does the same.

In the previous case, an iOS gambling app was posing as a kids' monkey-collecting banana game.

The app creator, Colin Malachi, was impossible to find online, but according to Eleftheriou, his scams have been commencing for months.

In this case, the developer of the two apps, called Marina Misko, has several gambling apps, all posing as games for kids 4+.

But the thing is, the developer took a more careful approach.

For example, the apps claimed to be games which players "needs to find a couple of pictures in the shortest possible time."

And on the App Store, the developer listed its website as a big Russian news outlet.

The apps however, despite pretending what they are not, they still retained their casino-like visuals and naming.

Following the findings, Apple removed the two apps from its App Store.

But seeing by how quickly Eleftheriou managed to find these apps, and when considering how similar the apps are if compared to the monkey-game Eleftheriou found earlier, it suggests that gambling apps masquerading as kids' games may be a trend.

Eleftheriou suggested that since users trust the App Store, they will also think that it is safe to download the app.

In fact, the apps even had a few updates that were successfully accepted by Apple.

“'This begs the question: how much is the tech giant really doing to protect users if new scam apps are surfacing on the App Store every day',” Eleftheriou asked, in which he answered: "Not enough, clearly."

“Alternative App Stores that focus on security rather than revenue would do a much better job than Apple,” he added.

“The iPhone already has enough system-level protections to make this work, and Apple needs to drop the security theater that’s harming consumers every day.”