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


The Apple logo is seen in the Apple Store at Marché Saint Germain in Paris, France, July 15, 2020. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes

BRUSSELS, Oct. 13 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Wednesday stepped up its criticism of draft EU rules that would require it to allow users to install software outside of its App Store, saying it would increase the risk of cybercriminals and malware.

But the Coalition for App Fairness, which includes Spotify, Match Group, and Epic Games, dismissed Apple’s arguments, saying built-in security measures like encrypted data and antivirus programs keep devices safe, not secure. its App Store.

The group wants regulators to loosen Apple’s grip on its App Store so they can bypass it to reach the hundreds of millions of Apple users and also to avoid paying commissions of up to 30% for purchases made in the Store.

The iPhone maker has been a fierce criticism of the rules proposed by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, announced last year in an attempt to curb Apple’s units, Amazon (AMZN.O) , Facebook (FB.O) and Alphabet (GOOGL.O) Google. .

Building on CEO Tim Cook’s comments in June on the privacy and security risks of iPhones, Apple on Wednesday released a threat analysis of what’s known as sideloading. Read more

“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 was limited to third-party app stores only,” says the report.

He warned against malicious apps migrating to third-party stores and infecting consumer devices, while users would have less control over downloaded apps.

The study cited figures from cybersecurity service provider Kaspersky Lab, which showed that nearly six million attacks per month affected Android mobile devices.

Group lawyer Damien Geradin said the side loading was just a distraction.

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

“Apple’s security claims are unfounded on this point. Alternative payment solutions provided by Stripe, Adyen or Paypal are as secure as IAP,” he said.

Draft EU rules also target these practices.

Apple has also attacked digital advertisers it disagrees with over its new privacy controls designed to prevent them from tracking iPhone users.

“Large companies that rely on digital advertising claim to have lost revenue due to these privacy features and therefore may be incentivized to distribute their apps via sideloading specifically to bypass these protections,” the report said.

Vestager’s draft rules need the green light from lawmakers in the EU and EU countries before they can become law, possibly in 2023.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Mark Potter and David Gregorio

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Margie D. Carlisle