In lieu of security concerns, Apple is now removing a few apps from the App Store. The iPhone maker did not reveal the number of apps it has taken down, though it did mention apps that require ‘root certificates’ can pose a serious threat, as it opens the door for hackers to get access to sensitive financial information.
Installing ‘root certificates’ essentially gives cyber-attackers the option to carry out what is known as a ‘man-in-the –middle attack’ (often abbreviated to MITM, MitM, MIM, MiM or MITMA), by intercepting networks as the process transports users’ data to an app’s servers.
The removed apps are mostly ad blockers who use root certificates, as it allows blocking online ads from within the app itself. However, these root certificates allow app developers to look at unencrypted traffic from users such as browsing history, which could also contain users’ sensitive financial information. The Cupertino giant says that nothing malicious has happened so far, though the potential risk of abuse is simply too much.
“Apple is deeply committed to protecting customer privacy and security. We’ve removed a few apps from the App Store that install root certificates which enable the monitoring of customer network data that can in turn be used to compromise SSL/TLS security solutions.We are working closely with these developers to quickly get their apps back on the App Store, while ensuring customer privacy and security is not at risk”.
One such app no longer available on App Store is an in-app Ad Blocker called Been Choice. The company confirmed via Twitter that’s it’s working on making changes to its app that will be resubmitted on the App Store in compliance with Apple’s policies.
Ad blockers are being widely used on PCs for quite a while now, though Apple just started allowing ad blockers into its mobile ecosystem with the release of its latest iOS 9. Moreover, they’ve already gathered quite a lot of attention topping the charts on the App Store for iOS paid apps, as the demand for such services among iOS users is on a constant rise.
While according to a recent survey conducted by New York Times, ad blockers on iOS significantly bolster the web browsing experience, battery performance, along with a notable reduction in data charges. They apparently conducted the test for four days, which included results with and without the use of ad blockers.