Apple again warns of security risks to sideloading

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Apple is making the case in a new white paper on Wednesday for why it says device downloads should not be allowed from outside of its App Store. 

In this case, it is making the argument against “sideloading” as both European Union regulators and American lawmakers consider forcing Apple to allow it.

Sideloading refers to the process of downloading applications onto a device from anywhere other than the manufacturer’s proprietary store. That could mean downloading apps from third-party stores or directly from web browsers.

“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 were limited to third-party app stores only,” Wednesday’s paper from Apple reads.

Critics have argued that Apple’s walled-garden approach to its devices gives it a stranglehold over app developers that it can exploit to charge exorbitant fees.

The Apple paper cites research from the cybersecurity services provider Kaspersky lab showing that Android powered devices, which do allow sideloading, have between 15 and 47 times more malware infections than iPhones.

“Mobile security threats are increasingly common, especially on platforms that support sideloading,” the report highlights.

Wednesday’s white paper builds on a shorter breakdown of the arguments for and against sideloading published this summer.

That brief was released as lawmakers in Congress began debating legislation seeking to address app store monopolization by, among other things, requiring Apple to allow sideloading.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager proposed rules last year that would do the same. Lawmakers in the bloc still have to vote on those draft rules before they become law.

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