Senior Apple engineer compares App Store defenses against malicious actors to bringing a ‘butter knife in gunfight’

As Apple and Epic Games’ legal battle continues, new documents have been released by both sides and a lot of new information has come to light regarding the effectiveness of Apple’s App Store review process. In the documents, A senior Apple engineer compared the defenses of its App Store against malicious actors to “bringing a plastic butter knife to a gunfight”.

The quote cited by Epic were discovered within the documents of the company’s Fraud Engineering Algorithms and Risk unit head, Eric Friedman. Epic will most likely use these quotes in its legal fight against the Cupertino tech giant.

App Store

Epic Games bring forth documents regarding weak App Store securities

Epic brought forth two particularly damaging quotes from Friedman in internal documents. As reported by The Financial Times. In one documents, the senior Apple engineer compares the security of the App Store to “bringing a plastic butter knife to a gunfight” and in another, he compares Apple’s app reviewing process to “more like the pretty lady who greets you . . . at the Hawaiian airport than the drug-sniffing dog”.

A senior Apple engineer compared the defences of its App Store against malicious actors to “bringing a plastic butter knife to a gunfight”, according to legal documents released on Thursday.

The anecdote, which was cited by Fortnite maker Epic Games ahead of a highstakes antitrust trial in California next month, was based on internal Apple documents quoting Eric Friedman, head of the company’s Fraud Engineering Algorithms and Risk (FEAR) unit.

In the papers, Friedman also likened Apple’s process of reviewing new apps for the App Store to “more like the pretty lady who greets you . . . at the Hawaiian airport than the drug-sniffing dog”. He added that Apple was ill-equipped to “deflect sophisticated attackers”.

These quotes could be particularly damaging to Apple’s defense which is rooted in the idea that its 30% app tax it requires from developers is a necessity as that capital is reinvested into the platform to manage security, review apps, and protect users from malware. The report notes Friedman saying Apple is unprepared to “deflect sophisticated attackers”.

App store

Epic suggests Apple’s review process is flawed as many unsafe, broken and fraudulent apps make it onto the App Store. This was highlighted in recent months by FlickType app’s developer Kosta Eleftheriou who shed light on several scam apps on the App Store which are actively robbing users of millions of dollars.

Eleftheriou, whose apps were targeted by scammers, suggests Apple does not crackdown on scammers and fraudulent apps on its platform because they also generate revenue for the App Store via subscriptions. So ultimately, Apple receives its standard 30% cut from scammers as well as the hardworking developers on its platform.

According to Apple, the company does not tolerate fraudulent activity on the App Store and is working hard to implement strict rules against apps and developers who try to cheat the system. In February it was also reported that Apple will be cracking down on apps that have “irrationally’ high prices.

App Store

Apple and Epic’s bench trial will begin on May 3. A judge will finally decide whether Epic Games will be permitted to bypass the iOS App Store commission rate and push a direct payment method for its Fortnite app or if Apple can maintain the payment structure of its App Store.

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About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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