Apple Inc 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, rejected Apple’s arguments, saying
that built-in security measures like encrypted data and antivirus programs keep devices safe, not 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 rules proposed by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, announced last year in an attempt to subdue Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, 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.
“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 cautioned against migrating malicious apps 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 that showed 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. “With that, Apple’s security claims have no legs.
The 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 businesses that rely on digital advertising claim to have lost revenue due to these privacy features, and
can therefore be encouraged to distribute their applications via side loading specifically to bypass these protections ”, the
Vestager’s draft rules need the green light from EU lawmakers and EU countries before they can become law, possibly
be in 2023.
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