Apple software chief: sideloading is “cybercriminals’ best friend”

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Apple has urgently warned against the forced opening of the iPhone for apps from any source: Sideloading will open the “Pandora’s box” and inevitably lead to a flood of malware attacks, said Craig Federighi, software chief responsible for iOS and macOS, at WebSummit -Conference on Wednesday in Lisbon, citing malware numbers from other platforms such as Android. The free installation of apps from the Internet opens a side door for criminals and is a gateway for malware – even in well-secured operating systems. This could, for example, compromise entire networks in companies, said Federighi.

If Apple deviates from a central and manufacturer-controlled app store, users would sooner or later get apps from other sources, the manager emphasized. Attackers would create fake app stores or offer supposedly official apps for direct download that hide malware. Sideloading is “cyber criminals’ best friend”. Even if experienced users could usually protect themselves, children and the elderly would be easily lured into the trap, warned Federighi.

Apple is targeting certain passages of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) planned for the EU, which could provide for the opening of platforms for alternative app stores. The EU wants to give users more choices, but at the same time deprive them of the option of using an isolated device, Federighi said.

More from Mac & i

More from Mac & i

More from Mac & i

Apple has the “de facto monopoly” in the sale of apps for iPhones, said EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager in advance. Security and the app review process should not make it difficult for competitors to sell their own apps and services, otherwise there would be no “room for innovation”.

There are also cross-party efforts to open the app platforms on Apple’s home market, the USA. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently told financial analysts that preventing iPhone sideloading is the company’s top priority. The App Store has long been a multi-billion dollar business for Apple, and it is estimated that the company makes more profit than the game giants that make games and consoles from commissions for in-app purchases on games.


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