Apple Reveals App Store Security Risk: Third-Party Stores Could Lead to Scams, Hacking!

Apple Reveals App Store Security Risk: Third-Party Stores Could Lead to Scams, Hacking!
Apple raised fears a recently proposed Congressional legislation would undermine the safety, privacy, and security of its users in forcing the company to accommodate third-party app stores into its iOS. Photo : James Yarema/Unsplash

Apple expressed its vehement opposition to a Congressional move seeking the Cupertino-based tech giant to open up to third-party app stores and provide third-party software makers access to its technologies, undermining App Store security.

Apple App Store Downloads to Protect Users from Scammers, Safeguard Privacy

On its website, Apple said that its policy of having users download apps from its App Store would protect them from scammers, hackers and cybercriminals, safeguard their privacy, and offer a viable business ecosystem for accredited developers. All these perks would vanish if the legislation succeed in allowing users to download apps to iPhones from unsafe third party app stores or sideload apps from questionable websites or PCs, a Fortune report said.

The U.S. House judiciary committee on Wednesday opened discussions on anti-trust bills, including the legislation authored by House anti-trust subcommittee chairman and Rhode Island Democrat Representative David Cicilline. It pushes to have Apple accommodate third-party app stores in its iOS, Bloomberg said in its report. Cicilline stressed in his bill that it would be "unlawful" for persons or business entities, such as Apple to impede a user from accessing or interoperating on the hardware, software, operating system or platform it offers as part of its product offerings and lines of business.

Read Also: Apple 'Sherlocking' Highlighted in Antitrust Probe-Google Also Questioned Over 'Firewall'

In a letter to U.S. lawmakers, Apple said it fears such proposals would compromise consumer privacy, device security, and innovation. The iPhone maker then urged House justice committee to disapprove the bill in its present form as it would engage with lawmakers on the matter.

According to Apple, allowing users to sideload degrades iOS platform security, risking user privacy on both the third-party app stores and the App Store, a post on Mint said.

With the immense amount of sensitive personal data of a massive base of iPhone users, such as location data, photos, health and financial information,  sideloading would lead to new investment for cybercriminals to launch attacks into the platform, which it said incentivizes scammers and hackers in an unprecedented scale.

Apple App Store Security: Sideloading to Wipe Out Privacy Features

Sideloading and downloading from third-party app stores, Apple added, would put to waste years of developing privacy features in the iOS, hampering the growth of the app economy which would then adversely affect both users and developers.

Cicilline's bill if passed into law would also compel Apple to share more of its key technologies to third parties, Bloomberg added. While Apple does open access to its technologies through application programming interfaces to enhance usability of the iPhone, allowing wider access would compromise the safety of important personal data such as health and financial information.

While this legislation might not pass the House justice committee in its current form, salient provisions of this bill show that politicians are now targeting tech giants and their dominance in the market to ascertain anti-trust enforcement. However, practicality and user and developer interest should temper the scene and offer a more realistic approach.

Related Article: Apple Includes Antitrust Risk on the Company's Proxy Statement

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