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In a recent interview with The Independent, Apple’s Head of Security Engineering and Architecture, Ivan Krstić, shed light on the company’s relentless pursuit of fortifying its iPhones against potential security breaches. The discussion delved into the intricate balance between user accessibility and the paramount importance of maintaining a secure ecosystem.
Krstić emphasized the formidable efforts invested by Apple in reinforcing its security infrastructure. The relentless commitment stems from a dedication to shielding users from a myriad of threats, ranging from commonplace issues to those of more severe consequence.
A significant portion of the interview focused on the looming specter of European Union regulations that could compel Apple to permit third-party app stores and sideloading. Krstić dismantled a common misconception regarding sideloading, asserting that it’s not merely an additional choice for users but a potential security hazard.
The argument often presented in favor of sideloading posits that it would be an alternative for users who prefer it, leaving the majority to stick with the App Store. Krstić vehemently disagreed, stating, “That’s a great misunderstanding – and one we have tried to explain over and over.” He elucidated that essential software, crucial for users in Europe, might only be available outside the App Store due to alternative distribution channels.
In such cases, users would be left without the choice to access necessary software through the trusted App Store, potentially resorting to less secure third-party systems. This, according to Krstić, undermines the user’s ability to retain the choice they currently have in obtaining all their software securely through the App Store.
Craig Federighi, another key figure at Apple, has joined the chorus against sideloading. Federighi, in a speech two years ago, labeled sideloading as a “cybercriminal’s best friend.” While acknowledging the potential necessity to comply with EU regulations, he underscored the inherent security risks associated with sideloading in an interview at this year’s WWDC.
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Beyond the sideloading debate, Krstić provided insights into Apple’s broader security practices and its interactions with governments regarding user data protection. He clarified that Apple doesn’t position itself in opposition to governments but rather sees its role as defending users against a spectrum of threats, ranging from common to exceptionally grave.