Global Column | Sideloading is detrimental to both businesses and individuals in the end

While legislation to force sideloading is being created in some countries, Apple is continuing its campaign against it. Sideloading means supporting the ability to download and install apps without going through Apple’s own app market, ‘App Store’.

Apple’s vice president of software, Craig Federighi, emphasized the merits of its approach to platform security on the iPhone at the 2021 Web Summit, after highlighting the need to force app sideloading on iPhones.EU digital market lawclearly objected to the Apple’s controversy over sideloading can be roughly divided into four categories.
  • commercial issue The argument that if you use Apple’s API to sell on Apple’s platform, you’ll have to pay for this opportunity.
  • consumer choice : Claims to be able to install and use apps that are not available in the App Store
  • unclean reason : Concerns that apps that continue to track users without consent may bypass the app store’s review process or other forms of surveillance
  • Purpose of crime prevention : Risk of creating fake app stores to spread malware, ransomware, etc.

Among these, commercial reasons are fully acceptable. In fact, this slogan is different in content, and Google also enjoyed using it. For example, when Google competed with Apple on Android, it attacked Apple with the slogan of ‘open rather than closed’, and eventually the Android market overtook the Apple App Store a few years later.

tell your heart

However, I believe that the current controversy surrounding sideloading also plays a part in the loose solidarity of groups profiting from undermining Apple’s privacy and security. This group also includes companies trying to make money in virtual worlds, the so-called ‘metaverse’, even if the reality is severely polluted by climate change.

If you complain about any of these companies that can hire the former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom as lobbyists, it’s almost always in their own interests. In this case, the company appears to be protecting its business by undermining Apple’s privacy protections and preparing for a war over augmented and virtual reality.

In other words, protecting Meta’s business model is the primary goal. The recent move to build an internal marketplace that violates Apple’s own app store guidelines makes it clear how it will behave. Apple’s recent campaign can be seen as targeting these companies after all.

bigger business model

There are more serious problems. They are criminals trying to break into other people’s digital lives by weakening Apple’s platform security. The problem is that they are very clever. It’s smart, complex, and excels at creating environments that allow innocent people to make mistakes. In fact, I wonder if anyone hasn’t clicked on the wrong link in the email at least once.

Moreover, they are not independent individuals. Online crime is an industry rich in bread and honey, and it’s no longer just a bunch of lonely geeks in the basement. With state and non-state sponsorship, they often rent office space that appears to be legitimate. Cybersecurity VenturesAccording to reports, cybercrime will cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. IBMAccording to Ransomware, each successful ransomware attack costs an American company about $9 million.

Criminals are constantly looking for easier ways to build fake apps and app stores to install malware on devices. Building stores that target locations, individuals, businesses and government agencies through small-scale social engineering and some targeted phishing scams. “People are periodically coerced and deceived, even without the intention of sideloading,” said Apple’s Federighi. These attacks are widespread and fatal in terms of business continuity and reputation.

humans are vulnerable

The fundamental limitation of all these problems is that humans are vulnerable. I encountered this problem while writing security advice for users. A lot of people say that you don’t have to worry about security when using a Mac (and they are, in fact, so vigilant). Or just download what you want and say that no one else is affected. But neither is true. Users can be used as pipes to infect others.

For example, if someone’s online address book is hacked, those registered in the address book will continue to see cumbersome messages. In recent years, a wide range of data is periodically stolen from companies, including a shocking data breach involving 5 million British people.

All of this information can be weaponized. Suppose now that these weapons could rely on mining data statistics to detect specific population groups and then create attractive software products that could be distributed to people through a malware-infected app store.

Anyone who downloads this malware is likely to eventually lose all of their information. Businesses are much more serious. As revealed in attacks on targets, security vulnerabilities in systems can be exploited to penetrate an enterprise’s entire technology stack. “If a smartphone is hacked, it can become a threat to the entire network,” Federighi said. “Malware from sideloaded apps can put government systems at risk and infect corporate networks and public utilities.”

Two Rebuttals to Apple’s Claims

However, there are two circumstances that refute Apple’s claims about sideloading. First, the argument is that very few people get sideloaded on Android that allows sideloading, and the second is that Macs actually allow sideloading to allow users to install apps from other sources. Let’s look at these arguments one by one.

First of all, the basis for the first claim could not be found. According to some reports, app sideloading is more popular in the APAC region than in the US. There have also been reports (from Google) that app sideloading actually poses a risk. But there was no evidence that few people are sideloaded on Android. Therefore, this argument is not persuasive. For the second argument, even Apple admits that the Mac is by no means the most secure PC platform.

After all, forcing sideloading on Apple devices doesn’t really benefit most users. On the other hand, the cost to companies and individuals due to such coercion and the resulting loss greatly outweigh the ‘unclear advantage’. In fact, consumers can already opt for sideloading if it is absolutely necessary. Arguing that this is a matter of choice ironically predates the elimination of options for secure systems. As a result, you are denying your choice while asserting your choice. [email protected]

Source: ITWorld Korea by

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