Critics see monopoly-like structures in Apple’s App Store policy. But forcing the iPhone maker to open it could open a floodgate for malware, an expert warns.

According to a leading European security expert, the EU should not force iPhone manufacturer Apple to allow applications to be installed outside of the app store.

The distribution of software for smartphones via tightly controlled app stores at Apple and, to a lesser extent, at Google is the biggest security improvement in the past 15 years, said Mikko Hyppönen, head of the Finnish security company WithSecure in Helsinki on Wednesday. “I don’t like what the EU is planning here.” The step will noticeably increase the spread of malware.

Apple has so far only allowed the installation of programs on the iPhone and iPad through the company’s own App Store and collects up to 30 percent commission for this. Google offers a similar model with the Play Store, but also allows direct installation on Android. Under planned EU legislation, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Apple would also be forced to allow users to install software from outside the App Store.

have to decide

Hyppönen said he could understand the motives of EU lawmakers. “It’s clearly a monopoly and Apple is making money with both hands with the App Store model.” He couldn’t stand monopolies either. “But I don’t like malware either. And we have to make a decision here.”

At the “TheSphere22” conference, the security expert spoke out in favor of making the manufacturers of networked household appliances liable if inadequate cybersecurity of their products makes large-scale hacker attacks possible. “If the lousy software of the networked washing machine makes my WiFi password accessible to everyone and all laptops in the household are irrevocably encrypted as a result, the manufacturer must take responsibility for it.” This regulation is much more effective than prescribing specific technical methods to secure the “Internet of Things”.

In any case, companies and consumers should decide much more consciously whether a device should be networked at all. “In the 1970s, people also believed that asbestos was a great building material.” It was only much later that the damage caused by asbestos was recognized.