Apple warns of cybercrime risks if EU forces it to allow others’ software

The Apple logo is visible on the Apple store at The Marche Saint Germain Paris, France July 15, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Apple Inc. (AAPL.O.) stepped up its criticism of EU draft regulations that would force it allow users to download software from outside its App store. This would increase the risk of malware and cybercriminals.

The Coalition for App Fairness, which also includes Spotify, Match Group, and Epic Games, rejected Apple’s arguments. They stated that Apple’s App Store is not protected by built-in security measures like encrypted data and antivirus programs.

The group calls on regulators to loosen Apple’s grip over its App Store in order to bypass it and reach Apple’s hundreds million of users. They also want to avoid paying up to 30% commissions for purchases made in the Store.

Margrethe Vestager, EU antitrust chief, has been criticized by the iPhone maker. The rules were announced last year to control Apple, Amazon (AMZN.O), Facebook(FB.O), and Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O unit Google).

Apple has published a Wednesday analysis of the dangers of sideloading. This is a continuation of CEO Tim Cook’s June comments about privacy and security issues with iPhones. Continue reading

“If Apple were forced to support sideloading, more harmful apps would reach users because it would be easier for cybercriminals to target them – even if sideloading were limited to third-party app stores only,”The report stated.

It warned that malicious apps could migrate to third-party sites and infect consumer devices. However, users would have less control of downloaded apps.

Kaspersky Lab, a cybersecurity services provider, provided data that showed that Android mobile devices were subject to nearly six million attacks each month.

Damien Geradin (a lawyer for the group) said that side-loading was a distraction.

“What matters to us is the obligation imposed on developers whose apps sell digital goods and services to use Apple In-App payment system,”He told Reuters.

“On that Apple’s security claims have no legs. Alternative payment solutions provided by Stripe, Adyen or Paypal are as safe as IAP,”He said.

These practices are also targeted by the draft EU regulations.

Apple also took aim directly at digital advertisers who are at odds with it over its new privacy controls that limit the ability of them to track iPhone users.

“Large companies that rely on digital advertising allege that they have lost revenue due to these privacy features, and may therefore have an incentive to distribute their apps via sideloading specifically to bypass these protections,”The report stated.

Before Vestager’s draft rules can be made law, they must be approved by EU lawmakers and EU nations. This is likely to happen in 2023.

Reporting by Foo Yunchee; Editing and Mark Potter by David Gregorio

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust principles.

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