Apple warns rise in cybercrime threats if forced by the EU to enable software from outside

The group wants regulators to release Apple’s grip on its App Store to bypass it to influence Apple’s hundreds of millions of users and dodge paying about 30 per cent of commissions for investments made in the Store.

On Wednesday, Apple Inc stepped up its objection of EU draft laws that would force it to enable users to install software outside its App Store, stating that would increase the chance of cybercriminals and malware.

But the Coalition for App Fairness, which incorporates Spotify, Match Group and Epic Games, rejected Apple’s arguments, saying that built-in security mechanisms such as encrypted data and antivirus programmes protect the devices, not the App Store.

The group wants regulators to release Apple’s grip on its App Store to bypass it to influence Apple’s hundreds of millions of users and dodge paying about 30 per cent of commissions for investments made in the Store. Apple Inc has been a harsh critic of EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s suggested rules, declared last year in a proposal to rein in Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet unit Google.

Commenting on CEO Tim Cook’s remarks in June about the hazards to privacy and security of iPhones, Apple on Wednesday issued a report on the menaces of so-called side-loading.

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

It warned of malicious apps moving to third-party stores and contaminating user devices, while users would have more limited authority over downloaded apps. The study quoted values from cybersecurity services provider Kaspersky Lab which noted almost six million attacks per month on affected Android mobile devices.

A lawyer for the company, Damien Geradin, said side-loading was just a disturbance.” 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. The draft EU rules also target these systems. Apple also took a swipe at digital advertisers with whom it is at loggerheads over its latest privacy restrictions intended to restrict them from tracing iPhone users.

According to the report, Large companies that depend on digital advertising claim that they have suffered revenue from these privacy features. Therefore, they may have an incentive to spread their apps via side-loading, particularly to neglect these protections. Vestager’s draft laws need approval from EU lawmakers and EU nations before they can become law, likely to be in 2023.

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