Apple’s computers, from the venerable iMac to the new MacBook, are under attack by malware and viruses. That is according to Apple senior vice president Craig Federighi’s sworn testimony in a California courtroom on Wednesday. “At the moment, we have a degree of malware on the Mac that we find intolerable,” he said.
Each virus or piece of malware that Apple is able to detect and block, many more appear. “It’s like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole,” he said.
Federighi testified for the prosecution in an ongoing case brought against Apple by the developer of “Fortnite,” Epic Games.
Federighi contrasted the security features of Apple’s computing systems during questioning.
Apple’s computers are “similar to a vehicle,” he said, in that users can drive them off-road or wherever they please – for better or worse – while the iOS operating system for the iPhone and iPad must be accessible by children and even infants.
Conflicting messages by Apple?
While Apple’s recent marketing has shifted heavily toward privacy protection rather than device security, Apple has long emphasised the security benefits of using its devices, especially Macs.
Federighi’s argument also contradicts some of the security details currently available on Apple’s website, which makes bold statements about the security of Macs.
The notorious ‘I’m A Mac, I’m A PC’ advertisement campaign capitalised on the stereotype that Windows PCs were infested with viruses, while the Mac remained relatively virus-free.
“MacOS’s technically advanced runtime defenses function at the heart of your Mac to keep it malware-free,” the website says. “This begins with the inclusion of industry-standard antivirus software to detect and uninstall malware.”
Federighi’s assertion on Apple vs Epic Battle
Federighi’s assertions that third-party app stores pose a greater danger to iOS are directly refuted by the company’s website. Apple maintains that allowing alternate app stores creates significant security risks. Apple maintains that allowing alternate app stores creates significant security risks.
“Now, users can install applications from both the App Store and the internet with confidence. App Testing ensures that each app submitted to the Store is checked prior to acceptance. Additionally, Gatekeeper on your Mac guarantees that all internet-connected apps have been scanned by Apple for known malicious code — even before you run them for the first time. If an app ever has a problem, Apple will easily halt new installs and even prevent the app from relaunching.”
Federighi said that the Mac operating system is less reliable than iOS specifically due to its open nature. If iPhone and iPad applications could be downloaded outside of Apple’s App Store, Federighi explained, users would be exposed to a range of security risks that Apple could not check prior to use.
This is because of the App Store’s review process, he explained, which ensures a uniform level of security for all iPhone and iPad users.
Epic is challenging Apple in an effort to compel the company to open its iOS platform to alternative app stores. Epic claims that iOS is a machine operating system that should be free of proprietary software.